Effect of some soil herbicides on vegetative habits of almond trees of ‘Nonpareil’ cultivar grown in a second-year nursery field

Z. Rankova1*, M. Tityanov2

1Fruit Growing Institute, 4004 Plovdiv, 12 Ostromila, Bulgaria 2University of Forestry, 10 Kliment Ohridski, 1756 Sofia, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 31 May 2016; accepted for publication 26 July 2016)

Abstract. The study was carried out in the period 2010 – 2012 in a nursery field established on the territory of the Fruit-Growing Institute, Plovdiv. The effect of the combined soil-applied herbicide metolachlor + oxyfluorfen (Metofen) and the contact soil herbicide with foliar activity flumioxazine (Pledge 50 WP) on the vegetative habits of ‘Nonpareil’ almond cultivar grafted on almond seedling rootstock was evaluated. In the period 15-25 March, before beginning of vegetation, soil herbicides were applied in the row strip in the second-year nursery field. The following variants were included in the study: 1. Control (untreated, hand- weeded); 2. Metofen – 120 ml/da; 3. Metofen – 240 ml/da; 4. Pledge 50 WP – 8.0 g/da; 5. Pledge 50 WP – 20.0 g/da. The effect of the herbicides on weed infestation and on the vegetative habits of the cultivar/rootstock combination ‘Nonpareil’/almond seedling rootstock was followed up. The results showed that the herbicides applied at the tested rates had a good control on weed infestation and the herbicide activity continued for 3.5-4 months. That makes it possible to eliminate the competitive impact of weeds on the development of the grafted trees for 4-5 months after beginning of vegetation. Visual symptoms of phytotoxicity (chlorosis or necrosis in the leaves and shoots) or an obvious suppression of the development of the grafted trees in the treated variants were not established. A depressing effect on growth of the grafted trees was reported after treatment with Metofen. The contact herbicide with soil and foliar activity Pledge 50 WP – 8.0 g/da can be applied for weed control in a second-year nursery field of almond trees grafted on bitter almond seedling rootstock.