Few herbicides are available for weed control in vegetable production systems using low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic mulch. With the elimination of methyl bromide for pest management and subsequent use of various alternative fumigants, the need for herbicides in vegetable production systems has increased. An experiment was conducted to evaluate tolerance of transplant summer squash and tomato to carfentrazone, flumioxazin, glyphosate, halosulfuron, or paraquat applied to the mulch prior to transplanting. After applying herbicides overtop of the mulch but prior to vegetable transplant, the mulch was either irrigated with 1.0 cm of water or not irrigated. Carfentrazone did not affect either crop regardless of irrigation. Irrigation readily removed glyphosate and paraquat from the mulch, as there was no adverse crop injury in these treatments. In the absence of irrigation, glyphosate and paraquat reduced squash diameter and tomato heights 18 to 34% at 3 wk after transplanting (WAT). Squash and tomato fruit numbers and fruit biomass (yield) were reduced 17 to 37%, and 25 to 33%, respectively. Halosulfuron reduced squash diameter and yield 71 to 74% and tomato heights and yields 16 to 37% when mulch was not irrigated prior to transplanting. After irrigating, halosulfuron had no affect on tomato, but reduced squash growth and yield 40 to 44%. Flumioxazin killed both crops when the mulch was not irrigated; and reduced squash yield 56% when irrigated. With irrigation, flumioxazin did not impact tomato fruit number, but did reduce tomato weight by 25%. These studies demonstrate the safety of carfentrazone, applied on mulch prior to transplanting either squash or tomato, regardless of irrigation, and also demonstrate the safety of glyphosate and paraquat if irrigated prior to transplanting. Conversely, flumioxazin should not be applied over mulch before transplanting either crop, regardless of irrigation. Halosulfuron application over mulch should be avoided before transplanting squash, regardless of irrigation, but can be applied prior to transplanting tomato if irrigated.
Nomenclature: Carfentrazone; flumioxazin; glyphosate; halosulfuron; paraquat; squash, Cucurbita pepo L. ‘Enterprise’; tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill ‘Amelia’.