Studies were conducted in 2006 at Clinton and Kinston, NC, to determine the influence of halosulfuron POST (over the crop plant) or POST-directed (to the crop) on growth and yield of transplanted ‘Precious Petite’ and ‘Tri-X-313’ triploid watermelon. Treatments included a nontreated control, 39 g/ha halosulfuron applied POST-directed to 25% of the plant (distal or proximal region), POST-directed to 50% of the plant (distal or proximal; Precious Petite only), and POST. Watermelon treated with halosulfuron displayed chlorotic leaves, shortened internodes, and increased stem splitting. Vines were longest in the nontreated control (Tri-X-313 = 146 cm, Precious Petite = 206 cm) but were shortest in the POST treatment (Tri-X-313 = 88 cm, Precious Petite = 77 cm). Halosulfuron POST to watermelon caused the greatest injury (Tri-X-313 = 64%, Precious Petite = 67%). Halosulfuron directed to 25 or 50% (distal or proximal) of the plant caused less injury than halosulfuron applied POST. Stem splitting was greatest when halosulfuron was applied to the proximal area of the stem compared with POST-directed distal or POST. Internode shortening was greatest in treatments where halosulfuron was applied to the distal region of the stem. However, Tri-X-313 in the POST-directed 25% distal treatment produced similar total and marketable fruit weight as the nontreated control at Clinton. Fruit number did not differ among treatments for either cultivar. At Kinston, Precious Petite nontreated control and POST-directed 25% distal end treatment had greater marketable fruit weight than the POST-directed 50% proximal and POST treatments. The current halosulfuron registration allows POST application between rows or PRE. Limiting halosulfuron contact to no more than 25% of the watermelon plant will likely improve crop tolerance.
Nomenclature: Halosulfuron; watermelon, Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai ‘Tri-X-313’ and ‘Precious Petite’