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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Methods evaluated to minimize emissions from preplant soil fumigation

  • Author(s): Gao, Suduan;
  • Hanson, Bradley D;
  • Wang, Dong;
  • Browne, Gregory;
  • Qin, Ruijun;
  • Ajwa, Husein A;
  • Yates, Scott R.
  • et al.

Many commodities depend on preplant soil fumigation for pest control to achieve healthy crops and profitable yields. Under California regulations, minimizing emissions is essential to maintain the practical use of soil fumigants, and more stringent regulations are likely in the future. The phase-out of methyl bromide as a broad-spectrum soil fumigant has created formidable challenges. Most alternatives registered today are regulated as volatile organic compounds because of their toxicity and mobile nature. We review research on methods for minimizing emissions from soil fumigation, including the effectiveness of their emission reductions, impacts on pest control and cost. Low-permeability plastic mulches are highly effective but are generally affordable only in high-value cash crops such as strawberry. Crops with low profit margins such as stone-fruit orchards may require lower-cost methods such as water treatment or target-area fumigation.

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