Field experiments were conducted in 2001 and 2002 to study the effect of date of planting, herbicide, and straw mulch on menthol mint yield and oil quality in northwest India. Menthol mint was planted at three dates (December 10, December 30, and January 20). Diuron was applied prior to emergence at rates of 0.0, 0.4, and 0.6 kg ai/ha, with and without rice straw mulch (6 t/ha). Menthol mint planted on December 30 and January 20 produced more plantlets and dry matter than the December 10 planting. Menthol mint planted on December 10 had higher weed density and weed biomass, and lower menthol mint herbage and oil yield than the later planting dates. Straw mulch application reduced weed density and weed biomass, and increased plantlet population, menthol mint dry matter accumulation, fresh herbage, and menthol mint oil yield. Preemergence (PRE) applications of diuron at 0.4 and 0.6 kg ai/ha increased menthol mint population and crop dry matter accumulation, and decreased weed density and weed biomass compared to the weedy check. Diuron at 0.6 kg/ha increased fresh herbage and menthol mint oil yield over the untreated weedy check, but there were no other differences between the two rates of diuron. Physicochemical properties of menthol mint oil were not affected by any of the three tested factors.
Nomenclature: Diuron; menthol mint, Mentha arvensis L