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Short-Term Methyl Bromide Alternatives for the Florida Floriculture Industry


The main objective is to develop short- to medium-term alternatives to methyl bromide for floriculture crops, with emphasis on Florida cut flower production. <P>Specific objectives of this project are the following: <ol> <LI> The most effective alternatives to methyl bromide will be compared in grower field sites. <LI> The performance of the best non-chemical practices will be improved and optimized relative to methyl bromide. <LI>The susceptibility of cut flower species to common nematode and disease agents will be determined.<LI>Information about methyl bromide alternatives for multiple-pest management will be presented to the floriculture community, students, and other audiences.

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Non-Technical Summary: Growers of cut flowers face serious problems from weeds, root diseases, and nematodes. Historically, they have managed these problems by using the soil fumigant, methyl bromide. Since use of methyl bromide is being phased out, it is critical to develop effective altentives for managing weeds and soilborne pests. This project will examine the performance of alternative chemicals and reduced rates of methyl bromide. Non-chemical methods, such as solarization and biological control, will be improved and compared to methyl bromide. It is hoped that effective alternatives to methyl bromide can be found and that these can be easily used by growers. <P> Approach: Several kinds of experiments will be conducted to accomplish the above objectives. Several experiments will be conducted with growers to evaluate the most viable alternatives (methyl iodide, reduced fumigant rates under metalized films) under actual production conditions. The best non-chemical practices (solarization, biorational products for nematode and disease management) will be optimized and integrated, with the best combination included in grower field trials. Susceptibility of commonly grown flower species to root-knot nematodes and Pythium will be determined in inoculation studies. Results will be disseminated to growers and agricultural practitioners through extension meetings, field days, webpages, and other publications, and to agricultural students through classes. A multidisciplinary team with experience in methyl bromide alternatives and managing multiple pests (weeds, nematodes, diseases) will conduct the work, in cooperation with participating growers, county extension agents, and commercial industry representatives.

McSorley, Robert
University of Florida
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