In citrus, weedy grasses compete for moisture, nutrients, and light and can inhibit the growth of young trees and delay fruit production. These weeds are difficult to control, either because of their tolerance to available herbicides or due to growth habits that enable them to resist other control practices. Control of seven such weedy grasses (southern sandbur, large crabgrass, crowfootgrass, guineagrass, Texas panicum, johnsongrass, and yellow foxtail) with a mixture of three fungal pathogens, termed the multiple-pathogen strategy, was field tested in 1996 and 1998. Three fungi indigenous to Florida, Drechslera gigantea, Exserohilum longirostratum, and E. rostratum, isolated from large crabgrass, crowfootgrass, and johnsongrass respectively, were used. Two separate field studies were conducted: one study with seven grasses transplanted and grown within each plot (grass mixture field trial) and another study on a population of guineagrass alone present in a naturally infested field (guineagrass field trial). The objectives of this study were to (1) evaluate the field performance of D. gigantea, E. longirostratum, and E. rostratum individually and in a mixture to control the seven transplanted weedy grasses (grass mixture) and a population of guineagrass in a naturally infested field, respectively, and (2) compare the effectiveness of three carriers (water, Metamucil®, and an invert emulsion) on the bioherbicidal efficacy under field conditions. The fungi were applied as foliar sprays, each pathogen alone or in a mixture of the three fungi (1:1:1, v/v/v, for a total of 5 × 105 spores ml –1) in water, 0.5% aqueous Metamucil®, or an emulsion containing Sunspray® 6E. During the 14-wk experimental period, one or two additional sprays of all treatments were applied. Disease severity was recorded weekly for 4 to 6 wk after the initial spray (WAI). Maximum disease severities were obtained in emulsion-inoculum treatments, and were higher than those in the water-inoculum and the Metamucil-inoculum treatments. The pathogen mixture was equally effective as the individual pathogens in controlling the weeds tested. In the 1996 trial, 6 WAI, disease severity on grasses inoculated with D. gigantea spore suspensions in emulsion ranged from 78 to 100%, with E. longirostratum 90 to 100%, E. rostratum 79 to 100%, and the mixture 74 to 100%. In the 1998 trial, 4 WAI, disease severity on grasses inoculated with D. gigantea spore suspensions in emulsion ranged from 45 to 98%, with E. longirostratum 45 to 98%, E. rostratum 34 to 98%, and the mixture 32 to 98.5%. Thus, it was possible to manage all seven weedy grasses under field conditions using an emulsion-based inoculum preparation with the individual pathogens as well as the mixture of pathogens. The same three fungal pathogens were field tested for their ability to manage populations of guineagrass in a naturally infested field. The experimental design and treatments were identical to the field testing with the seven transplanted grasses. Two applications of an emulsion-based inoculum preparation of each pathogen or the mixture of pathogens effectively controlled guineagrass for up to 10 wk, with no regrowth.
Nomenclature: Bromacil; diuron; fluazifop-P; glyphosate; norflurazon; oryzalin; oxyfluorfen; paraquat; sethoxydim; simazine; thiazopyr; Drechslera gigantea (Heald & Wolf) Ito; Exserohilum longirostratum