Methyl bromide has been widely used for weed control in polyethylene-mulched tomato production. With the phaseout of methyl bromide in the United States, an effective alternative is needed. Field experiments were conducted in 2007 and 2009 to determine if allyl isothiocyanate (ITC) would provide substantive weed control in tomato along with crop tolerance under low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and virtually impermeable film (VIF) mulch. Treatment factors included two mulch types (LDPE and VIF) and six rates of allyl ITC (0, 15, 75, 150, 750, 1,500 kg ha−1). A standard treatment of methyl bromide ∶ chloropicrin (67 ∶ 33%) at 390 kg ha−1 under LDPE mulch was also established. Allyl ITC was broadcast applied and incorporated in soil before forming raised beds and laying plastic mulch. Tomatoes were transplanted 3 wk after applying allyl ITC or methyl bromide treatments. Tomato injury was ≤ 8% in all treatments at 2 wk after transplanting (WATP). Allyl ITC at 913 (± 191) kg ha−1 was required to control yellow nutsedge, Palmer amaranth, and large crabgrass equivalent to methyl bromide at 6 WATP and maintain marketable tomato yield equivalent to methyl bromide treatment. VIF mulch was not effective in increasing weed control or improving the marketable yield of tomato over LDPE mulch. This research demonstrates that allyl ITC under an LDPE mulch can have a practical application for weed control in polyethylene-mulched tomato in the absence of methyl bromide.
Nomenclature: Allyl isothiocyanate; methyl bromide; large crabgrass, Digitaria sanguinalis (L) Scop. DIGSA; Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats. AMAPA; yellow nutsedge, Cyperus esculentus L. CYPES; tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. ‘Amelia’.