Quinclorac drift has been speculated as the cause of injury to tomato crops throughout northeast Arkansas. In this study, we set out to determine whether tomato plant injury and yield reduction were correlated with simulated quinclorac drift. Experiments were carried out at Fayetteville, AR, in 1999 and 2000. Maximum plant injury (visual ratings) was about 20% when plants were treated with one, two, or three quinclorac applications (weekly intervals beginning at first flower) at 0.42 g ai ha−1 (0.001 times the normal use rate to simulate drift). Maximum plant injury ranged from 48 to 68% with quinclorac simulated drift treatment of 42 g ha−1. Overall, increasing quinclorac rate and number of applications increased tomato injury. In both years, tomato plant fresh-weight accumulation was not influenced by one, two, or three applications of quinclorac at 0.42 g ha−1 compared with the untreated control. In 1999, increasing the rate of quinclorac from 0.42 to 4.2 g ha−1 reduced plant fresh-weight accumulation. In 2000, there was no significant difference in plant fresh weight when plants were treated with quinclorac at 2.1 to 4.2 g ha−1. Evaluation of the herbicide rate effect indicated that quinclorac at 0.42 g ha−1 did not reduce tomato fruit yield (total weight of edible fruit) compared with the untreated control, but yield decreased as rate increased above 0.42 g ha−1. Increasing the number of applications generally decreased tomato yield, and overall as maximum visual plant injury increased, tomato yield reduction also increased linearly. We conclude that quinclorac at simulated drift rates can adversely affect tomato plant growth and yield.
Nomenclature: Quinclorac tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.