Source: MICHIGAN STATE UNIV submitted to
RESEARCH EVALUATIONS OF AND OUTREACH FOR METHYL BROMIDE ALTERNATIVES IN CONIFER SEEDLINGS AND HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0196846
Grant No.
2003-51102-02029
Project No.
MICL08310
Proposal No.
2003-04583
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
112.C
Project Start Date
Sep 15, 2003
Project End Date
Sep 14, 2007
Grant Year
2003
Project Director
Brewer, M.
Recipient Organization
MICHIGAN STATE UNIV
(N/A)
EAST LANSING,MI 48824
Performing Department
ENTOMOLOGY
Non Technical Summary
Alternatives to methyl bromide and economic impacts associated with their adoption have not been adequately researched for seedling conifers and herbaceous perennials in northern climates. This project will expand methyl bromide alternatives research in the areas of economics, weed managementand soil-borne plant pathogens, and provide education and outreach to assist with grower adoption of alternatives developed.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
2052110114010%
2122110110215%
2122110112010%
2122120110215%
2132110114015%
2132120301015%
6012110301010%
6012120301010%
Goals / Objectives
This project has four main objectives which are:1)to determine the costs and economic welfare impacts from specified regulatory changes that influence quality and/or yields in Michigan's woody ornamental and herbaceous perennial plant industry; 2)to evaluate herbicidal alternatives for weed control in herbaceous perennials and conifer seedling production; 3)to evaluate methyl bromide alternatives for management of soilborne diseases; and 4)to expand methyl bromide alternatives education and outreach programs.
Project Methods
The economics component will include development of a worksheet designed to collect information about cost, quality and yield changes from the specific control and experimental treatments in the other project objectives, including plug culture for conifer seedlings. Base budgets will be constructed for representative crops. Michigan industry, scientists and regulatory agencies will be provided information about the economic implications of modifying production practices in the face of methyl bromide withdrawal. Multiple weed management research studies for representative crops in field production settings will be established with cooperators. Additional trials will be conducted in greenhouses to evaluate herbicide rates application timings or herbicide combinations that can't be included in field studies due to space and resource constraints. Results will provide alternative herbicidal controls for problem weeds, and a sound assessment of crop tolerance to the tested herbicides. The soil-borne plant pathogen segment of the project will include Phytophthora citricola, Pythium ultimum, Fusarium oxysporum and Rhizoctonia solani, all common plant pathogens with wide host ranges. Inoculum and plant materials will be increased on site the first year. Inoculum will be applied to the soil, cultivated and planted with a cover crop to stabilize the inoculum. The presence of the pathogens in the soil will be verified by baiting to recover inoculum from the soil. The target species will be planted and allowed to grow to establish disease during the spring and summer. Treatments include alternative fumigants and fungicides. Destructive sampling and standard assessment keys will be used for evaluations of plant response to treatments. The status of pathogen populations in the soil will be evaluated for each treatment. Soil and root tissue samples will be collected to assess nematode population densities, and to track changes in response to various treatments. Results will identify potential chemistries and alternative fungicidal uses not currently available in ornamental and conifer plant production. Testing under northern field conditions will point out relative strengths and weaknesses of products tested and suggest strategies for improvement. Extension materials will be developed to relate information about weed and disease management in seedling conifers and herbaceous perennials that arises as a result of the research conducted. Research will be summarized and published in a yearly report and distributed to industry, as well as in refereed journals, and on a website. Demonstrations of weed and disease control research plots will be available to growers, and summer field days will be held for growers at the research locations in the second and third years of the project. A regional methyl bromide alternatives symposium will be held after the end of the project to share results with growers and researchers in the north central region. Extension activities will provide extensive information to growers to make economically and environmentally sound methods of replacing methyl bromide.

Progress 09/15/03 to 09/14/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Alternatives to methyl bromide to protect herbaceous and woody perennial ornamentals from pathogens and weeds, and assessment of economics and delivery of educational information were pursued. Pathogens. The field site previously had not had perennial herbaceous plants or conifer seedlings, was inoculated with soilborne pathogens in 2003, and planted to potential target host plants: Pythium ultimum, Phytophthora root and seedling rot (Phytophthora spp.), and the non-pythiaceous pathogens Fusarium oxysporum and Rhizoctonia solani. In fall 2004, methyl bromide and alternatives were applied, and evaluations were carried out Oct 2005. Treatments had significantly lower root rot incidence than the non-treated except Subdue Maxx 21.3SC 1.25 pt + Compost 2" + Rootshield T-22 12.0 lb and the non-treated/non-inoculated control and all treatments significantly reduced the root rot severity index. Pythium ultimum and Rhizoctonia solani were isolated from roots. Overall, Subdue Maxx 21.3SC 1.25 pt + Compost 2" fall applied followed by Rootshield T-22 12.0 lb prior to transplanting gave as good and consistent control as other conventional and biological treatments. Weeds. Field studies evaluated herbicide combinations on five herbaceous perennial species, six seedling conifer species, and various weed species. Overall, isoxaben + oryzalin provided good weed control with crop tolerance similar to MeBr. Metolachlor + rimsulfuron caused slight Fraser fir injury. Mesotrione and mesotrione + metolachlor caused more than 40% injury in Douglas fir and Colorado blue spruce. Oxyfluorfen weed control was similar to methyl bromide, with minimal crop injury on all seedling conifers. Oxyfluorfen + metolachlor provided greater than 75% control of all weed species rated. Mesotrione provided good weed control with minimal injury to Fraser fir and balsam fir. Overall, flumioxazin, oxyfluorfen, oxyfluorfen + metolachlor, and oxyfluorfen + dithiopyr provided the best overall weed control with acceptable safety on all crops. Economic impact analysis of alternatives to methyl bromide. For Frasier Fir seedlings and transplants (3-0 and 2+2), and White Pine seedlings (2-0), Sureguard, Goal, and Goal + P. Magnum were chosen as the best alternatives to methyl bromide. Adjustments to grower production cost were calculated, and scenario analysis was used along to highlight potential impacts of the alternative practice. There are positive changes in net revenue when we assume no change in output price or seedling yield. However, net revenue quickly becomes negative and in some cases substantially reduced if the alternative treatments were to result in 10% lower yields or output prices (from lower quality plants). Education. An educational seminar was held Feb, 2006. Progress was shared by researchers. Representatives from the USDA-ARS and the EPA attended to update growers on registration of methyl bromide alternatives and the critical use exemption process. Approximately 50 growers and grower representatives attended. Followup reporting occurred at a joint meeting of the nursery, landscape, and turf industries and the Michigan Methyl Bromide Task Force. PARTICIPANTS: Project members. Michael Brewer, IPM Program, Department of Entomology (brewerm@msu.edu) Suzanne Thornsbury, Department of Agricultural Economics (thornsbu@msu.edu) Bernard Zandstra, Department of Horticulture (zandstra@msu.edu) William Kirk, Department of Plant Pathology (kirkw@msu.edu) Dennis Fulbright, Department of Plant Pathology (fulbrig1@msu.edu) George Bird, Department of Entomology (birdg@msu.edu) Thomas Dudek, Michigan State University Extension (dudek@msu.edu) Partner organizations. Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association. Michigan Seedling Growers Association TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences: Growers and supporting industries involved in the field production of herbaceous and woody perennial ornamentals.

Impacts
A reasonable conclusion is that the effect on output (quality and/or quantity) will determine economic impact for individual growers who switch from methyl bromide to the alternatives identified, rather than the more direct and immediate adjustments to material costs. For example, if herbicide treatments to replace methyl bromide provide industry acceptable control, conifer seedling and ornamental growers may save over $1000 per acre in annual hand weeding expenses.

Publications

  • Little, D.A., Richardson,R.J. and Zandstra, B.H. 2005. Herbicides as alternatives to methyl bromide for weed control in daylily, ajuga, and periwinkle. Proc. Northcentral Weed Sci. Soc. 60:167.
  • Little, D.A., Richardson, R.J. and Zandstra,B.H. 2005. Alternative herbicides to methyl bromide for weed control in conifer seedlings. International Christmas Tree Research and Extension Conference 7:29-30.
  • Marshall, M.W., Richardson, R.J., Zandstra,B.H. Uhlig, R.E., Little, D.A., Particka, M. G. Dudek, T., J. O Donnell, J. and Myers, N 2005. Weed control research on ornamental crops and Christmas trees. Horticultural Report No. 67.
  • Thornsbury, S., Woods, M., Beedy, T. and Aguilar, C. 2008. Alternative to methyl bromide in Michigan field production of seedling conifers and herbaceous perennials, economic comparisons Department of Agricultural Economics Staff Paper, Michigan State University, in press.


Progress 01/01/06 to 12/31/06

Outputs
This project seeks to test use of alternatives to methyl bromide to protect herbaceous and woody perennial ornamentals from a) pathogens, b) nematodes, and c) weeds; assess the d) economic viability; and e) delivery educational information. 2006 progress updates are available for a, c, and e: a) The site selected for the methyl bromide alternatives field test previously had not had perennial herbaceous plants or conifer seedlings, was inoculated with soilborne pathogens in 2003, and planted to potential target host plants: Pythium ultimum, Phytophthora root and seedling rot, (Phytophthora spp.), and the non-pythiaceous pathogens Fusarium oxysporum and Rhizoctonia solani. In fall 2004, methyl bromide and alternatives were applied. Evaluation of plant fresh weight and a root rot index was carried out during Oct 2005. In daylilies there were no significant differences in fresh weight; root incidence or severity although the trend suggested that Subdue Maxx 21.3SC 1.25 pt + Compost 2" + Rootshield T-22 12.0 lb increased fresh weight and reduced root rot. Pythium ultimum was isolated from the roots. Fresh weight of ajuga was not affected by any treatment but the trend suggested that Telone II 97.5% 440 pt and Subdue Maxx 21.3SC 1.25 pt + Compost 2" + Muscador 80WP 0.16 lb increased plant mean fresh weight. All treatments had significantly lower root rot incidence than the non-treated control except Subdue Maxx 21.3SC 1.25 pt + Compost 2" + Rootshield T-22 12.0 lb and the non-treated/non-inoculated control and all treatments significantly reduced the root rot severity index. Pythium ultimum and Rhizoctonia solani were isolated from the roots. Fresh weight of vinca was not affected by any treatment but the trend suggested that Metam-Sodium 42SC 350 pt and Subdue Maxx 21.3SC 1.25 pt + Compost 2" increased plant mean fresh weight. All treatments had significantly lower root rot incidence than the non-treated control. Pythium ultimum was isolated from the roots. c) Second year weed control and crop injury data in Fraser fir, eastern white pine, Douglas fir, and Colorado blue spruce seedlings was collected in the 2005 experiment in southwest Michigan. A new experiment was established in 2006. The new field consisted of the four conifer species as in 2005 and balsam fir. Four new treatments were added: oxyfluorfen + prodiamine, trifluralin + isoxaben + oxyfluorfen, oxyfluorfen + pendimethlin, and Telone C35. Flumioxazin and metolachlor + rimsulfuron caused more than 10% injury in Fraser fir. Mesotrione and mesotrione + metolachlor caused more than 40% injury in Douglas fir and Colorado blue spruce. There were no differences in dry weight at the end of the 2005 study. Mesotrione + metolachlor, oxyfluorfen + metolachlor, and oxyfluorfen + dithiopyr provided the best overall weed control. e) A half day educational seminar for the industry was held Feb, 2006 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Progress to date was shared by researchers. Representatives from the USDA-ARS and the EPA attended to update growers on registration of methyl bromide alternatives and the critical use exemption process. Approximately 50 growers and grower representatives attended.

Impacts
By reporting segment: a) Depending on costs, Telone ll may be a better choice for nurseries than methyl bromide in controlling Phytopthora root rot in nursery beds. c) Herbicide treatments to replace methyl bromide if found should be able to save conifer seedling and ornamental growers over $1000 per acre in annual hand weeding expenses. e) Industry updates and reports of progress are essential in laying the groundwork for adoption of methyl bromide alternatives that are biologically and economically acceptable. Industry feedback is also critical to the project and EPA and USDA representatives that have agreed to participate.

Publications

  • Little, D.A.,Marshall, M.W., Richardson, R.J., and Zandstra, B.H. 2006. Herbicide alternatives to methyl bromide in herbaceous perennial production. Proc. Annual International Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reductions 2006:131.
  • Little, D.A., Marshall, M.W., Richardson,R.J., and Zandstra, B.H. 2006. Herbicide alternatives to methyl bromide in conifer seedling production. Proc. Annual International Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reductions 2006:130.


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
This project seeks to test use of alternatives to methyl bromide to protect herbaceous and woody perennial ornamentals from a) pathogens, b) nematodes, and c) weeds; assess the d) economic viability of these alternatives; and e) delivery updates and educational information on alternatives to methyl bromide to herbaceous and woody perennial growers. 2005 progress for each segment (a-e): a) The site selected for the methyl bromide alternatives field test previously had not had perennial herbaceous plants or conifer seedlings, was inoculated with soilborne pathogens in 2003, and planted to potential target host plants to encourage the development of the various diseases: Pythium ultimum, Phytophthora root and seedling rot, (Phytophthora spp.), and the non-pythiaceous pathogens (NPP) Fusarium oxysporum and Rhizoctonia solani. In fall 2004, methyl bromide and alternative fumigants were applied. Despite irrigation, disease development was hampered in 2005 by hot and dry conditions except in lupine, and there was some seedling disease in Vinca. Daylilies and Ajuga were least impacted by soil pathogens. No treatments provided significant disease control in plant species impacted by disease but Telone C-35 numerically reduced disease impact compared with methyl bromide. For Fraser fir, both Telone ll and C-35 provided excellent control where disease plot incidence was high. b) Soil and root tissue samples for nematode community structure analysis were taken at the research site before application of soil pesticides, at-planting and at the end of the 2005 growing season. The assessment indicates that the soil has poor biological structural and enrichment attributes and three genera of phytopathogenic nematodes are present at high enough densities to inhibit normal plant growth. High concentrations of heavy metals are present, which may have been partially responsible for poor establishment of some cultivars. c) For seedling conifers, Fraser fir and eastern white pine were tolerant of all herbicides tested. Flumioxazin, oxyfluorfen, mesotrione, and mesotrione plus metolachlor were more effective than methyl bromide for controlling annual weeds. For ornamentals, daylily, and periwinkle were tolerant of all herbicides tested. Ajuga was slightly stunted by metolachlor plus mesotrione and oxadiazin plus pendimethalin. None of the herbicides gave as good control of annual weeds as did methyl bromide. d) Baseline cost of production data and prices of alternatives to methyl bromide on conifer seedlings has been gathered in fourteen interviews. Baseline cost of production data has been taken from critical use exemptions for perennial seedlings, and will be refined in interviews with growers in 2006. e) A half day educational seminar for the industry is being planned for February15, 2006 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It will share progress to date by the researchers involved in the grant and will share details of other methyl bromide work done in Michigan. In addition representatives from the USDA-ARS and the EPA will be in attendance to update growers on registration of methyl bromide alternatives and the critical use exemption process.

Impacts
With the first year of the study completed, impact comments will be limited to potential impacts to the industry. By segment (a-e): a) Depending on costs, Telone ll may be a better choice for nurseries than methyl bromide in controlling Phytopthora root rot in nursery beds. b) This is the first demonstration of soil biological structure and enrichment in relation to the production of herbaceous and woody perennial ornamentals in Michigan. The test is also an excellent example of high population densities of phytopathogenic nematodes associated with poor quality soil. This should serve as a catalyst to start the industry thinking about soil quality, which may be essential for development of sound alternatives to methyl bromide. The occurrence of high concentrations of heavy metals may also have an impact on the approach of the industry to soil management. c) Herbicide treatments to replace methyl bromide if found should be able to save conifer seedling and ornamental growers over $1000 per acre in annual hand weeding expenses. d) The potential economic impact depends both on efficacy of alternatives in controlling pathogens, nematodes, and weeds and any positive or negative impacts of the alternative materials on the quality or quantity of seedlings produced. e) Industry updates and reports of progress are essential in laying the groundwork for adoption of methyl bromide alternatives that are biologically and economically acceptable. Industry feedback is also critical to the project and EPA and USDA representatives that have agreed to participate.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
Trial plots at South West Michigan Research and Extension Center are now established to evaluate soil-borne diseases, weeds, and nematode populations. Disease organisms are established in the plots that were inoculated in fall, 2003. Some fumigant treatments were applied in fall, 2004; remaining treatments will be applied in spring. In addition to conventional fumigants and fungicides, three biofungicides are under evaluation. Following planting, various disease development and severity ratings will be taken. Nematode and other soil organism populations will be quantified, and measured over time. In seedling conifer weed control trials, crop injury was low with all herbicides tested; weed control was generally good, but dependent upon treatment and weed species. Four herbicide treatments were more effective than methyl bromide and controlled at least 80% of all weed species present. Crop growth was equivalent or greater in herbicide treated plots compared to methyl bromide. In herbaceous perennial weed trials, weed control was generally fair to good with all treatments. No treatment, including methyl bromide, controlled more than 70% of all weeds present. Heavy spring rains may have reduced methyl bromide effectiveness. Herbicide results have been shared with growers at several meetings this year. Economic assessment of the alternatives for methyl bromide use is a cross-cutting objective in the project. Coordination meetings were set up with each of the scientists involved with the physical experiments and other project participants. Results from these meetings established the best way to collect data was to first gather economic information based on current grower practices to develop a baseline enterprise budget. This budget can serve as input to the CUE process and a budget tool for individual growers. Separate surveys were drafted for herbaceous perennial and seedling growers. Surveys have been approved by University Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects. Preliminary results were presented on September 17, 2004 at the annual meeting of the Michigan Seedling Growers Association; an ad hoc committee was formed to facilitate data collection and improve grower participation. Perennial growers will be surveyed in winter- spring 2005. A form to assess plug- based production was discussed with a Michigan grower, and appointments are being made with additional growers outside Michigan to interview them about these systems. A meeting of the Methyl Bromide Alternatives Task Force was held in January 2004, to advise stakeholders of progress on the grant, get input and develop educational activities for the upcoming year. Quarterly meetings were held with cooperators on the grant to gauge progress on objectives, and facilitate work done on the project. Updated research information was included with CUE proposals filed in August. Newsletters were sent to task force members in winter and fall. A field day for growers was held in October, 2004 to familiarize them with the research plots at SWMREC. Methyl bromide alternatives grant progress reports for 2004 are being recorded on CD and will be distributed to industry stakeholders in February.

Impacts
As research progresses, and results of alternatives to methyl bromide under evaluation are shared with industry, we expect that these alternatives will be more widely adopted. Telone is already gaining greater acceptance among growers as a workable alternative to methyl bromide. Some of the herbicides investigated as alternatives have received new or broader labeling for horticultural crops and use of them is increasing. As growers become more educated about the costs of adopting alternatives, and are able to translate the economics into workable practices for their own operations, they will have greater confidence toward adopting alternatives.

Publications

  • Richardson, R.J., Zandstra, B.H., Uhlig, R.E., Little, D.A., Particka, M.G., Dudek, T., ODonnell, J., Myers, N., Walters, B. 2004. Weed control research on ornamental crops and Christmas trees. Horticultural Report No. 65.
  • Uhlig, R., Richardson, R.J., Zandstra, B. 2005. Yellow nutsedge control in ornamentals with registered and experimental herbicides. Proc. Northeast Weed Sci. Soc. 59:In press.


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
The disease control component of the project was constructed and planted in September 2003. Plots were set up into five blocks. The soil in each block was inoculated with Michigan isolates of Rhizoctonia solani AG 2.2, 3 and 4; Fusarium solani, F. oxysporum, Pythium ultimum, Phytophthora nicotianae and P. citricola- which had been previously grown for four weeks on millet seed. The inoculum was mixed and broadcast over the entire experimental area (except P. citricola which was established directly in seedlings of Fraser fir). The bait plants (Abies fraseri, Ajuga sp., Lupinus perennis, Vinca minor and Hemerocallis cv.) were immediately planted after inoculation. The pathogens have been re-isolated from the plots (using soil baiting); all pathogens are present. Research sites have been identified with grower cooperators to conduct weed control research under Objective 2a. In addition, preliminary research has been conducted in the field and greenhouse for some of the weeds listed in Objective 2a. Most of the necessary materials to meet other weed control objectives have been collected. The economic component is underway. Economic information previously collected for the field grown herbaceous perennials critical use exemption proposal (CUE) is being evaluated. Researchers are creating a checklist for seedling growers to survey cultural practices. They are getting background information about growing practices in both the seedling and herbaceous perennials areas so they can develop methodology for gathering specific data on growing practices used in the industry. All surveys involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by a university board (UCHRIS) before they can be administered. The process for evaluation by UCHRIS has been initiated. Education and outreach component- Researchers will be meeting with industry advisors in early January to give a progress report and discuss industry's needs for educational programs for spring, 2004. A methyl bromide alternatives task force newsletter was written and sent out to herbaceous perennial and seedling growers who have been identified as methyl bromide users, to provide updates on research projects, CUE proposals and QPS exemptions for methyl bromide use.

Impacts
The project started in September 2003. There are no impacts to report at this time.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period