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XIII. Other Organic and Inorganic Chemicals

XIII. Other Organic and Inorganic Chemicals

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31 I



3. PMAS (Phenyl Mercuric Acetate)



Recently phenyl mercuric acetate has received attention as a selective

crab grass killer (DeFrance, 1947). Most of the work reported to date

has been on lawns, turfs and golf greens, but successful development of

the material should be a boon in truck gardens and pastures. PMAS is

usually applied as a spray although its action, a t least in part, is through

the soil. I t s selective action on crabgrass may result from the rather

superficial root system of this species.

Developmental work is under way with two other chemicals (Evans,

1948) sodium isopropyl xanthate and ally1 chlorophenyl carbonate, but

little information is as yet available on them.

)



4. Cyanamid and Cyanate

Calcium cyanamid has long been used as a temporary soil sterilant

to rid soils of weed seeds preparatory to planting lawns (DeFrance, 1948),

tobacco seedbeds (Anonymous, 1948c), and various vegetable and field

crops (Wolf, 1948). Cyanamid dust lias been applied t o cereal crops

as a selective herbicide wherever dew is sufficient to provide moisture to

dissolve the chemical on the leaves of weeds.

More recently potassium cyanate sold under the name of Aero

Cyanate has proved effective as a selective spray in onion and other

bulb crops (Anonymous, 1948d; Evans, 1948). Upon breakdown in the

soil both of these materials leave residues that are high in nitrogen and

hence valuable as fertilizers.

5. CX2, DD, Prochlow

The Irerbicitlal properties of CS2 are well described by Hannesson

et al. (1945). DD (dichloropropane-dichloropropene mixture) proved

effective in the killing of deep-rooted perennial weeds but dosage was

many times that required for nematode control. Since the advent of

2,4-D this material has been limited to the latter use.

Prochlors (chlorinated propane-propene mixture) have been tested as

weed killers (Freed, 1947) but have not been widely used. They offer

some advantages over CS, but cost considerably more than 2,4-D in the

control of perennial weeds,

While generalization as to new chemicals in a field as fluid a s that

of herbicides is not without risk, nevertheless certain trends do appear.

Specific selectivities, undreamed of a few years ago, have aIready emerged

and become an integral part of the agricultural scene. More such selective chemicals are in the offing, bringing further advances in weed control. Also, new developments point to better grass killers both as



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A. 8. CRAFTS AND W. A. HARVEY



selectives and general toxicants and the resultant decrease in the use of

oil for this purpose. The major impact of herbicides on agricultural

practices is yet to be felt.

6. Arsenic, Borax, Chlorate

Because litt.le has been added to the information given in Robbins

et al. (1942) on these herbicides, they will receive only passing mention

here. There are still many situations in which they are useful, but full

knowledge concerning their properties is required for their intelligent

handling.

XIV. WATERWEEDCONTROL

Of importance to irrigation agriculture are the new chemical methods

for controlling semi-submersed and submersed water weeds. I n place

of chaining, dragging, and cutting by various means, methods that

tended to subdivide the plants and spread the infestations, treating the

irrigation water with chlorinated benzenes or solvent naphthas has proved

effective and relatively inexpensive (Crafts, 1945a; Hirst, 1947; Moran

and Shaw, 1948). The chemicals, mixed with sufficient emulsion stabilizers to insure immediate emulsification, are sprayed under the surface of

the flowing water in the ditch. They form milky white emulsions and

the toxicants are absorbed by the leaves of the weeds, resulting in rapid

plasmolysis and death. The chlorinated benzene killers are heavier than

water and they tend to settle into the mud in the ditch bottom, resulting

in a slight residual effect. The solvent naphthas, being lighter than

water, rise to the surface when the emulsions break.

XV. HERBICIDE

APPLICATION

EQUIPMENT

The rapid expansion of chemical weed control has created a big

demand for equipment. One company sold over two million nozzles during the 1948 spraying season and this represents only a small fraction

of the total business. Because of the great demand, many State Agricultural Experiment Stations have printed bulletins or circulars describing equipment. The following references provide a number that will be

found convenient (Akesson and Harvey, 1948; Anonymous, 1948k ; Derscheid and Stahler, 1948; Price et al., 1946; Sylvester and Bakke, 1947).



XVI. DRIFT,VOLATILIZATION,

BLOWING

OF HERFXCIDES.

SECONDARY

AND RESIDUAL

EFFECTS

As a corollary to the introduction of new pest control chemicals come

abuses, misuse, and accidents. Already 2,4-D has damaged thousands

of acres of cotton, tomatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, melons, and grapes,



WEED CONTROL



313



and many people are ready to prohibit its sale and use. To those who

remember t.he numerous cases of arsenic poisoning, chlorate burns and

other accidents, this is simply evidence of the lag of popular education

behind the promotion and sales of these materials.

Most of the cases of serious damage such as those occurring in Texas

and Louisiana (Brown, 1947s; Dunlap, 1948; Staten, 1946), and that of

the San Joaquin Valley in California in 1948 (Pryor, 1948) are obviously

examples of misuse. They can be prevented in t.he future by proper

instruction of growers in the precautions essential to the use of so potent

a chemical.

Of more interest and concern to the agronomist are certain cases

involving secondary effects. I n one instance in California, either bull

thistle or milk thistle plants sprayed with 2,4-D proved fatal to lambs.

Several people have been reported as exhibiting allergic symptoms as a

result of contact with 2,4-D. One instance of allergic reaction to mayweed sprayed with 2,4-D has been noted. These cases are serious and

deserve careful study.

On the other side, curly dock plants in a ladino clover pasture that

had received a 2,4-D spray were so relished by sheep that they were

eaten clear into the ground. And many tests in the greenhouse with

2,4-D in soils show stimulation of crop plants by as much as 100 per

cent after the chemical has broken down in the soil (Crafts, 1949; Tullis,

1948) .

Breakdown of 2,4-D in soils has been shown to be related to the

activities of microorganisms (DeRose and Newman, 1947; Newman,

1947). Recent work indicates that the soil microflora may be altered by

the presence of 2,4-D so that subsequent applications of the chemical are

destroyed more rapidly than the initial treatment. This is of great

significance in preemergence practice as too rapid disappearance of the

chemical may reduce the effectiveness. Another prominent effect of

2,4-D use is the build-up of grassy weed populations. Already some

growers are complaining about the increase in wild oat populations in

their grain fields. One case has been reported in California where

elimination of bur clover by 2,4-D treatment has seriously reduced the

value of the stubble as sheep pasture. These examples illustrate the

far-reaching effects that can be expected from sudden changes as drastic

as that of weed elimination. I n all tests on new herbicides the investigator should be constantly on the watch for such secondary effects. Only

by vigilance can serious accidents be prevented and full usefulness of

the new materials be exploited.



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A. S. CRAFTS AND W. A. HARVEY



XVII. FLAME

CULTIVATION

The use of weed burners to control weeds selectively in growing crops

has received attention in several areas.. Probably the widest agronomic

interest has been in cotton where mechanization has been a prime motive

in the development of flame weeding (Neely and Brain, 1944). The

selectivity of the method is based on the greater resistance to heat of

cot.ton stems which become woody more rapidly than the stems of succulent weeds. Thus it is possible to find a time of exposure to a particular temperature which will kill young weeds but not permanently

injure cotton. Such selectivity is only relative and too long an exposure

to flaming when cotton is too small will injure the crop. The method

is still in the developmental stage (Grigsby, 1948), although some plantations are flaming a substantial acreage.

Other crops on which flaming shows promise include corn and sugar

cane, where the enfolding outer leaves protect the stem from injury. A

few truck crops (i.e.J onions) and ornamentals (lilies) also withstand

some flaming.

The use of flame as a preemergence treatment has also received attention. In this respect, flaming competes directly with herbicides and

the choice may become one of cost and convenience.

XVIII. THENEW AGRONOMY

Under the above title we should like to discuss some of the ideas that

are evolving with the use of the new, highly effective herbicides. Many

practices involving rates of seeding, spacing of drill rows, harrowing and

fertilization have grown up around the problems of weed control. The

width of rows and the spacing of seeds in the rows of intertilled crops

have been dictated by the length of the single-tree or the prescribed

spacing of implements on the tractor drawbar (Norman, 1948).

Since the introduction of 2,4-D the eminent success in the control of

weeds has suggested to many the possible alteration of such practices

with increased crop production as the goal, using mechanized pest control

and mechanized harvesting in place of conventional methods. I n recent

t.rials, in which 200 bushels or'more of corn per acre were produced

(Anonymous, 1948i), several of the successful growers used 20-inch rows

with 6 to 9 inch spacing within rows. This provides a more uniform

environment. Similar spacing trials are being tested in cotton, soy beans,

and other intertilled crops (Leonard et al., 1947, 1948).

By using close spacing, mechanized pest control, and increasing the

fertilieer applicat.ion, not only are crop yields being increased, but tillage

with it,s attendant root pruning and its deleterious effects on soil colloids



WEED CONTROL



315



is reduced to a minimum. This allows the soil to attain as nearly its

virgin fertility as is possible under a cropping regime, and it appreciably

lowers losses from erosion and leaching. Use of segmented or pelleted

seed and precision planting are adding t o the degree of control which

the grower is able t o exercise over his crops (Bainer, 1947, 1948). These

two features alone may cut the need for hand weeding almost t o zero.

Furthermore, the various organic materials used in pest control are

broken down in the soil, with a resultant increase in fertility (Zobel,

1946). Many of the toxicants, after breaking down, seem to have a

stimulatory effect on the crops (Crafts, 1949). How far the grower can

go in combining these various effects to increase yields is difficult to

foresee, but it. seems certain that when they are used t o their maximum

advantage many of the soil losses that have been stressed by soil conservation workers will be eliminated. This will mean that instead of

facing a future of constantly diminishing returns from the soil, crop

production may be maintained a t least a t its present level and possibly

may be raised to an appreciable extent.

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Boron in Soils and Crops*

K . C . BERGER

CONTENTS



Page



I . Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

321

I1. Boron Determination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

323

1. Titrimetric Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323

2. Spectroscopic Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323

3. Colorimetric Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324

a . Turmeric Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324

b . Hydroxyanthraquinone Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325

c . Quinalizarin Test

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325

4. Biological Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326

I11. Boron Availability in Soils . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327

1 . Conditions Favoring Availability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327

a . Organic Matter . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . 328

b . Lack of Leaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329

c. Texture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

329

2. Conditions Favoring Fixation or Loss . . . . . . . . . . . . 329

a . Alkalinity and Change in pH . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330

b . Calcium-Boron Ratios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332

c. Leaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

332

d . Drying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

333

e . Crop Removal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 334

3. Boron Cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

334

IV. Boron Requirement of Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336

1. Function of Boron in Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337

2. Interrelations with Other Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338

a . Calcium-Boron Ratios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339

b . Potassium-Boron Ratios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340

c. Nitrogen-Boron Relationship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341

d . Other Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341

3. Symptoms of Boron Deficiency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 342

4. Boron Requirements of Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344

V . Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

317

References

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

348



I . INTRODUCTION

Although borax. under the name of Tincal or Tincar. was exported to

Europe from central Asia and was used before the middle of the sixteenth



* Contribution from the Department of Soils. University of Wisconsin. Madison.

Wis . Published with the permission of the director of the Wisconsin Agricultural

Experiment Station .

321



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