The Atlantic Provinces of Canada are one of the most important blueberry growing regions in the world. The wild blueberry is a unique crop with high antioxidant content. It is a low growing, woody perennial shrub. Plants reproduce and spread by underground rhizomes and seed but established plants increase in size primarily through extension of the underground rhizome system. Commercial fields consist of natural wild blueberry stands managed on a unique two-year cycle in which plants are pruned to ground level by mowing or burning in the first year (non-bearing year) to promote vegetative growth and fruit is harvested in the second year (bearing year). The lack of tillage and crop rotation associated with wild blueberry production has resulted in weeds becoming one of the most limiting factors in wild blueberry production. Fescues (Festuca spp.) are common perennial grass species in wild blueberry fields. Common species include sheep fescue (Festuca ovina L.), hair fescue (Festuca filiformis Pourr.) and red fescue (Festuca rubra L.). Sheep and hair fescue are densely tufted, cool season grasses which are native to Europe and were introduced to North America as turf grass species (Cronquist et al. 1977). These weed species are especially problematic because traditional weed control options, like crop rotation and cultivation, cannot be used as blueberries are perennial plants. The objective of this experiment was therefore to evaluate the effect of burndown glufosinate ammonium applications on foramsulfuron efficacy on fescue species in wild blueberry fields.
Seed bank characteristics, seedling recruitment, and management of fescues (Festuca spp.) in wild blueberry. Scott N. White and Shanthanu K. Kumar. 2015 Canadian Weed Science Society Meeting, Edmonton, AB, Canada. (Nov 2015)
Glufosinate Ammonium Increases Foramsulfuron Efficacy on Festuca spp. in Wild Blueberry. Shanthanu K. Kumar and Scott White. 2015 Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia (WBPANS) annual meeting, Truro, NS, Canada. (Nov 2015)
Preliminary studies on the seed bank dynamics, seedling recruitment patterns, and management of fescues (Festuca spp.) in wild blueberry. Scott N. White and Shanthanu K. Kumar. 2015 Wild Blueberry Research and Extension Workers Conference. Maine, USA. (Oct 2015)
Manuscript under preparation-Effect of glufosinate ammonium (Ignite) in improving foramsulfuron (Option) efficacy to control festuca spp. in wild blueberry (vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) fields. Scott N. White and Shanthanu K. Kumar.- to be submitted to the Canadian Journal of Plant Science.
In view of the variable results obtained from foramsulfuron (Option), field and greenhouse studies were conducted in 2015 to evaluate the effect of glufosinate ammonium (Ignite) applications on suppression of fescues with foramsulfuron (Option) in wild blueberry. A 4 X 2 factorial experiment of glufosinate ammonium application rate (0, 405, 750, and 1005 g a.i. ha-1) and foramsulfuron application at 35 g a.i. ha-1 (yes or no) was arranged in a completely randomized design in the greenhouse and a randomized complete block design in the field. The higher rates of glufosinate ammonium followed by foramsulfuron reduced fescue leaf number and biomass in the greenhouse experiment. Glufosinate ammonium application at 750 and 1005 g a.i. ha-1 followed by foramsulfuron reduced fescue biomass by 73 and 93%, respectively, compared to foramsulfuron applied alone. In the field study, fescue tuft inflorescence height and seed production was reduced by foramsulfuron alone, but there was a trend towards lower seed production and tuft height when fescues were treated with higher rates of glufosinate ammonium followed by foramsulfuron. Though the results were variable in the field, they suggest that glufosinate ammonium increased the efficacy of foramsulfuron in controlling fescues. Future research will investigate the effects of different glufosinate ammonium application timings to determine the optimum combination of these products under field conditions.
Place : Dept. of Environmental Sciences, Dalhousie University-Faculty of Agriculture, Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Supervisor: Dr. Scott N. White