ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 84 Number 3
Management strategies for Commelinan diffusa (watergrass) in fairtrade banana in St Vincent and the Grenadines. (117)
Management of weeds in Fairtrade banana without the use of herbicides is a major challenge to farmers in St Vincent and the Grenadines. A completely randomized field experiment with three replications was conducted on a clay loam soil at Evesham to evaluate the effectiveness of two live mulches (Mucuna pruriens and Desmodium heterocarpon), banana leaf mulch, black plastic mulch, an organic herbicide-Burnout (1 part: 2 parts water), flaming, Glufosinate (Basta) at 5 mL L-1 and 2.5 mL L-1, respectively, and hand weeding in managing Commelina dijfusa and other weeds in a newlyestablished rainfed field. All mulch treatments were effective in managing C. dijfusa and other weed species. Desmodium heterocarpon was the most effective treatment providing excellent control (93%) after 20 weeks. Basta at 2.5 mL L-1 was as effective on weeds as at 5 mL L-1 generally, but was less effective on watergrass. BurnOut was the least effective treatment. The study indicated that the use of mulch is a viable alternative to herbicides for managing weeds in newly-established banana. Desmodium heterocarpon live mulch seems to be the most practical alternative.
Keywords: Commelina diffusa; Fairtrade; Banana; Desmodium heterocarpon; Mucuna pruriens; Live mulches; Banana mulch; Plastic mulch; BurnOut; Glufosinate; Flaming