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Arkansas Fruit, Vegetable and Nut Update

Blueberry Pre-emergent Herbicide Demo

by Ryan Neal - November 12, 2018

We have another guest post from Benton County Agent and Blueberry Grower Ryan Neal. Ryan conducted a demonstration of different Pre-emergent herbicides for blueberry production. This is good information as you move into planning for next spring’s production cycle.

 

This demonstration looked at the new pre-emergent herbicide Alion which is newly labeled in Arkansas for blueberries. Dr. Burgos trialed various herbicides in 2017 at the research station in Clarksville and the data collected favored the use of Alion compared to older more common pre-emergent herbicides such as Princep and Surflan.  The label for Alion suggests it has longer residual control of weeds than that of Surflan or Princep.  The sticker price can be intimidating at first sight so in this demonstration I paired the contact herbicide Gramaxone with Alion as the price of Gramaxone is half the price of Rely which is the alternative for many growers.  The Gramaxone/Alion mixture was compared to a Rely/Surflan/Princep mix.  The price for each treatment is listed below:

 

A table comparing cost per treatment for 5 herbicides used in blueberry production

 

  

As you can see the price of Alion is $410/quart but the rate is so low that the per acre cost is less than that of Surflan/Princep. 

Both treatments were spray applied on 4/10/18 to Legacy, Duke and Chandler varieties. The Legacy are about 3 years old while the Duke and Chandler are about 5 years old.

Rely/Surflan/Princep was used on both sides of row 58, and the east side of row 59

Alion/Gramaxone was used on both sides of row 60, and the west side of row 59

 

The beginning of a row of blueberries with a fair amount of weeds growing around the plantings

Photo: Rely/Princep/Surflan on 6/1/18 ~7 weeks after application

 

The beginning of a row of blueberries with mostly bare ground around the plantings

Photo: Alion/Gramaxone on 6/1/18 ~7 weeks after application

 

Two rows of blueberries comparing the weed growth in the surrounding area of the plantings, with the left row having far less weed growth compared to the right row.

Photo: A) Alion/Gramaxone and B) Rely/Surflan/Princep on 6/1/18 (Photo taken from other direction) 

 

Two rows of blueberries comparing the weed growth in the surrounding area of the plantings, with the left row having no weed growth and the right row having moderate weed growth.

Photo: A) Alion/Gramaxone and B) Rely/Surflan/Princep on 6/15/18

 

 

Dr. Burgos previously mentioned the potential prevention of Bermudagrass runners from establishing where Alion had been sprayed. Pictured below is the Alion applied zone where it seems to be free from Bermudagrass runners.

Two rows of blueberries with the surrounding areas around the plantings bare after an herbicide application

 

The effects of all pre-emergent herbicides wear off over time but the weed suppression of the Alion treatment appeared to last longer than that of the Surflan/Princep treatment. The need to weed eat and/or spot spray was reduced which offered a better harvest experience and time savings.

Two rows of blueberries in bloom  with dead weeds/grass surrounding the plantings between the rows