Title page for ETD etd-12172009-112236

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Jester, Jennifer Lynn
Author's Email Address jesterj@vt.edu
URN etd-12172009-112236
Title Assessing Drift and Lateral Mobility of Flazasulfuron and Trifloxysulfuron Sodium
Degree Master of Science In the Life Sciences
Department Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Askew, Shawn D. Committee Co-Chair
Hipkins, Perry Lloyd Committee Co-Chair
Hagood, Edward Scott Jr. Committee Member
  • sulfonylurea herbicide SU
  • herbicide tracking
  • herbicide runoff
  • herbicide mobility
  • Drift
Date of Defense 2009-12-04
Availability restricted
Flazasulfuron is one of the newest sulfonylurea (SU) herbicides to be registered for use in the fine turf industry. Flazasulfuron is safe for use on bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon), and zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica) yet controls several grass, broadleaf, and sedge weeds. In fine turf, flazasulfuron controls cool-season grasses such as tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) without harming warm-season grasses. Although SU herbicides like flazasulfuron bring several potential benefits to turfgrass markets, there are also several concerns related to using these herbicides in turfgrass areas. For many plant species, SU herbicides can cause phytotoxicity or death at less than 1 g ai/ha-1indicating small quantities of active ingredient are required to cause problems if herbicide moves in the environment. Herbicide moves to nontarget plants either after it has been applied via lateral relocation or during application via spray drift. Trials were conducted to evaluate flazasulfuron and trifloxysulfuron sodium tracking, runoff and drift in turfgrass environments. Field trials were conducted at six locations across the US to evaluate effects of irrigation, herbicide treatment, nontreated buffer distance, and time of tracking on creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) putting green response to dislodged herbicide residues. Although average turf injury did not exceed 2%, significant differences were noted when treated plots were irrigated prior to tracking. In addition, putting green injury was negatively correlated and normalized difference vegetative index was positively correlated with increasing buffer distance. Data indicate the importance of post treatment irrigation to reduce lateral relocation of SU herbicides like flazasulfuron and trifloxysulfuron sodium in turfgrass. In other studies, herbicides were applied to turfgrass on 7 to 11 % slopes and perennial ryegrass injury was assessed at various distances down slope following an irrigation or rainfall event. Herbicide movement in runoff water was indicated by perennial ryegrass discoloration as much as 18 m below treated plots when excessive herbicide rates were applied to saturated soils. Based on perennial ryegrass injury, flazasulfuron at the rates tested was equivalent or more mobile than trifloxysulfuron sodium and equivalent or less mobile than pronamide when subjected to irrigation or rainfall soon after application to saturated soils. To assess spray drift, a bioassay based on corn height reduction was conducted and corn plants were exposed to potential spray drift in field conditions using conventional turfgrass spray equipment. A sprayer was operated when wind speeds were between 6.4 and 9.6 km h-1 and sentry plants were placed various distances between 0 and 30 m down wind. Wind speeds and direction were confirmed with anemometers and neutrally-buoyant balloons. Herbicide drift was not detected beyond 4.6 m downwind of either herbicide application. Data suggest a 5- to 8-m nontreated buffer area should sufficiently protect neighboring cool-season turfgrasses and other plants against flazasulfuron drift, runoff, and tracking as long as product is not applied to saturated soils and irrigated prior to traffic.
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