Yellow nutsedge is a problematic weed in polyethylene-mulched tomato production. Soil fumigation with methyl bromide is the most effective method of controlling nutsedges, but because of ozone depletion, the phase-out of methyl bromide has complicated nutsedge control in polyethylene-mulched tomato and other vegetable crops. Plants belonging to the Brassicaceae family produce glucosinolates, which upon tissue decomposition generate biocidal isothiocyanates and therefore can be used as a biological alternative for yellow nutsedge control. Field experiments were conducted in 2007 and 2009 to study the influence of soil amendment with ‘Seventop’ turnip cover crop on the interference of yellow nutsedge planted at 0, 50, and 100 tubers m−2 in raised-bed polyethylene-mulched tomato production. There was no advantage of soil amendment with Seventop on reducing yellow nutsedge interference in polyethylene-mulched tomato. Regardless of soil amendment, increasing initial tuber density from 50 to 100 tubers m−2 increased yellow nutsedge shoot density, shoot dry weight, and tuber production at least 1.7, 1.6, and 1.6 times, respectively. As a result, tomato canopy width, shoot dry weight, and marketable yield decreased with increasing initial tuber densities. However, increased tuber density had minimal impact on tomato height. Relative to weed-free plots, interference of yellow nutsedge at 50 and 100 tubers m−2 reduced marketable yield of tomato up to 32 and 49%, respectively. Shading of the middle and lower portion of tomato plants by yellow nutsedge shoots could be the major factor for reducing tomato growth and yield in weedy plots. It is concluded that soil amendment with Seventop turnip is not a viable option for reducing yellow nutsedge interference at 50 and 100 tuber m−2 in polyethylene-mulched tomato.
Nomenclature: Yellow nutsedge, Cyperus esculentus L. CYPES; tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. ‘Amelia’, turnip, Brassica rapa L. ‘Seventop’.