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Metsulfaron spray drift reduces fruit yield of hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna L.)

Science of the Total Environment

Abstract

This study was carried out to investigate whether spray drift of metsulfuron has a potential to negatively affect hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) hedgerows near agricultural fields. For this purpose four doses of metsulfuron ranging from 5% to 40% of the field dose (4 g metsulfuron per hectare) were sprayed on trees in seven different hawthorn hedgerows. The actual deposition on the leaves was measured by means of a tracer (glycine). Spraying was conducted both at the bud stage and at early flowering. Leaves, flowers, green berries and mature berries were harvested and the number and weight of each were measured. The spraying at the bud stage caused a highly significant reduction in number and dry weight of berries, whereas it had no effects on leaf and flower production. The berry reduction was close to 100% at actual depositions relevant for spray drift under normal conditions. Spraying at early flowering also significantly reduced berries although the effect was smaller than for the spraying at bud stage. The early flower stage spraying caused no reduction in number and size of leaves. The possible ecological consequence is that metsulfuron spray drift from agricultural fields has a potential to reduce the amount of berries available for frugivorous birds in nearby hedgerows. A potential need for regulatory measures to reduce herbicide spray drift to hedgerows situated near agricultural fields with herbicide use is also indicated. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author(s): Kjaer, C; Strandberg, M; Erlandsen, M

Journal: Science of the Total Environment

Year: 2006

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