IPM / Weed Science
Effects of Timing and Frequency of Flame Cultivation Treatments on Dewberry
Supported by Strategic Agricultural Initiatives Grants, EPA ID No: X8-96128001-0
Flame cultivation is a nonchemical method of weed control where target plants are damaged by brief exposure to high temperature. The utility of flame cultivation on perennial weeds in cranberry systems is currently being investigated to determine if it could be a useful practice for cranberry weed control. Woody perennial weeds such as dewberry (Rubus spp.) are particularly problematic in cranberry production and efficacious management tools for dewberry are limited.
Past work with dewberry plants (Rubus spp.) has shown that a single exposure with a hand-held flame cultivation tool will cause a reduction of dewberry biomass by the end of a single growing season. We tested the effects of multiple treatments within a single growing season as well as the effects of varying the timing of these treatments. Utilizing dewberry plants transplanted from commercial cranberry farms to a prepared area at the UMass Cranberry Station, plants were exposed to one of seven treatments using an open flame torch: a single 9-s exposure (June, July, or August) or two 9-s exposure (June/July, June/August, or July/August) or untreated control. Dewberry stems were counted and measured prior to treatment, and again at end of the season. In the year following treatment, all stems were counted and measured, and above and belowground biomass was collected, dried, and weighed.
Cumulative dewberry stem lengths (CSL) from the end of the season of treatment showed that all treatments had significantly less CSL than the untreated control except for the single June treatment, indicating that all other treatments were effective at reducing weed cover in the year of treatment. Biomass collected in the year after treatment showed that treatments with two exposures were more effective at reducing total, shoot, and root dewberry biomass than treatments with a single exposure. All treatments had significantly less aboveground biomass than the untreated control, however only the June/July and July/August treatments showed a significant reduction in root biomass. The efficacy of flame cultivation on dewberry control is impacted by both the timing and the frequency of treatments.
Managing Cuscuta gronovii (swamp dodder) in Cranberry Requires an Integrated Approach
Dodders (Cuscuta spp.) are parasitic plants that threaten the sustainability of many crops. Because this parasite is very adept and successful from biological and ecological perspectives, a single control strategy is unlikely to provide sufficient economic control. Dodder (C. gronovii) is a particularly serious pest in commercial cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) production. Multiple viable strategies must be integrated and tailored into a weed management plan to provide acceptable control. The key to sustainable management of this serious pest will require a combination of chemical and cultural approaches, supported by understanding the complicated nature of dodder biology. Research from small fruit production systems like cranberry into the biology of dodder (e.g., germination patterns, host preference, use of plant growth regulators) may provide insights that could ultimately be useful for other crop system management plans.
Along with the bog and greenhouse facilities here at the Cranberry Station, the Weed/IPM Lab does all of its work with fairly low-tech equipment. Some of the technical equipment we use includes a LI-Cor PAR and leaf area meter and SigmaScan for digitization of dodder infestations.
Recent IPM Awards/Funding
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Regional Agricultural IPM Grants. $48,899. Assessing the needs and promoting the adoption of IPM for dodder control in cranberry production. H.A. Sandler and K.M. Ghantous. September 2012-March 2016.
NE Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, $203,778. Tile drainage in Massachusetts cranberry production – implementation and best management Practices. C.J. DeMoranville (PI), C. Kennedy, P. Jeranyama, and H. Sandler. May 2012-April 2015.
USDA-NIFA, Extension IPM Program. $159,000. Advancing IPM for diversified and organic farms in Massachusetts. H. Sandler, PI. September 2013-August 2014.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Strategic Agricultural Initiatives Program. $99,692. Promoting the adoption of reduced risk options for weed control in commercial cranberry production. H.A. Sandler and K.M. Ghantous. August 2010-December 2013.
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Partnership Grant. $10,579. Evaluation of corn gluten meal for preemergence weed management in cranberry. H. Sandler (PI) and K.M. Ghantous. April 2013-March 2014.
Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. and Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association. $9,775. Control options for dodder in Massachusetts-Herbicide screening. H.A. Sandler. May 2013-April 2014.
Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. $7,044. Managing woody weeds in commercial cranberry production-Poison ivy. H.A. Sandler. May 2013-April 2014.
IR-4 Minor Use, Pesticide Registration Project. $10,000. Residue Evaluation Program-difenoconozole and carbaryl. C.J. DeMoranville, M.M. Sylvia, and H.A. Sandler. May 2013-October 2014.
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Student Grant. $15,000. Hand-held flame cultivation: Developing a sustainable weed control method in cranberry production. H. Sandler (PI) and K.M. Ghantous. August 2011-June 2013.
Northeastern IPM Center Partnership Grant. $19,977. Development of the interactive cranberry pest management tool for IPM. B. Wick, A.L. Averill, and H.A. Sandler. March 2011-June 2012.