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  Evaluation of Spring Herbicide Application for Lambkill, Rhodora and Bracken Fern Control in Wild Blueberries

G.L. Graham, G. Chiasson and É. Thériault

Partner: Bleuets NB Blueberries

Abstract: Lambkill (Kalmia angustifolia), rhodora (Rhododendron canadense) and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) are potentially difficult weeds to control in wild blueberry fields. They are generally present at high density before establishment of the field and can interfere with production during subsequent cropping years if they escape hexazinone treatment. Spring herbicide application may provide another application window for these weeds. A trial was established in a wild blueberry field which was being brought into commercial production in the Lavillette region of New Brunswick. None of the herbicides evaluated combined consistent weed control with adequate crop injury ratings. Imazethapyr and both triclopyr rates caused significant blueberry injury over all rating dates. Triclopyr was the only treatment with lambkill control over multiple rating timings. Both sulfentrazone and chlorimuron–ethyl suppressed lambkill populations early after application. Applications of granular hexazinone after blueberry emergence suppressed lambkill populations on the final rating date. Only high rates of triclopyr suppressed rhodora populations, while all other herbicide treatments did not provide significant control. Mesotrione alone, hexazinone followed by mesotrione and sulfentrazone had high levels of bracken fern control on the first rating date, but all showed significant regrowth by the end of the trial period. Chlorimuron ethyl and granular hexazinone applications suppressed bracken fern. Some of the products with good crop safety (BAS 800H, isoxaflutole, and thiencarbazone) should be evaluated for additional weed targets to determine if they would be suitable within blueberry production. Mesotrione alone would not provide adequate weed control for land clearing purposes. The most promising treatment was late applications of granular hexazinone. This practice should be evaluated further. The trial will not be continued into the crop year as the co–operating grower is changing the management strategy for the field area.

Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries
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