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Article

Post-Emergent Control of Nuisance Cones in Fraser Fir Christmas Tree Plantations

1
Department of Horticulture and Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, 1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing Michigan, MI 48824, USA
2
Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, 1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing Michigan, MI 48824, USA
3
Michigan State University Extension, 401 N. Lake Street, Suite 400, Cadillac, MI 49601, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(5), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050233
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 27 April 2018 / Published: 28 April 2018
Heavy cone production by Fraser fir Christmas trees requires significant labor inputs to remove nuisance cones. We conducted two field trials in collaboration with operational Christmas tree farms to evaluate the effectiveness of post-emergent herbicides to stop the development of newly emergent cone buds. In the first trial (2016), we applied six products (two conventional herbicides and four herbicides labeled for organic production) to trees using back-pack sprayers in operational plantations at four farms in Michigan. Three products; Scythe, Axxe, and Avenger, provided better cone kill than the other products but resulted in phytotoxicity at two locations. In 2017, we applied the three most effective products from the earlier trial at three farms either as single applications or as two applications approximately one week apart. We also evaluated a hand-held mechanical de-coning device at two farms. For all the products and the mechanical device, cone control in the 2017 trial was high (>80%). Phytotoxicity to foliage was low (mean rating, <0.3; 0 = none, 2 = severe) for single applications of the herbicides. Repeated applications increased cone control slightly but also increased risk for phytotoxicity. The mechanical device caused significant damage to shoots and foliage. We attribute the increased product effectiveness and reduced phytotoxicity between the 2016 and 2017 studies to improved coverage and earlier spray timing. Based on the current retail product cost, chemical cone control can be cost-effective compared to handpicking cones if trees have high numbers of cones that can take several minutes to remove. The effect of using surfactants and reducing product rates should be investigated along with mechanized application. View Full-Text
Keywords: coning; herbicides; cone picking; phytotoxicity; pelargonic acid coning; herbicides; cone picking; phytotoxicity; pelargonic acid
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cregg, B.; Ellison, D.; O’Donnell, J. Post-Emergent Control of Nuisance Cones in Fraser Fir Christmas Tree Plantations. Forests 2018, 9, 233. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050233

AMA Style

Cregg B, Ellison D, O’Donnell J. Post-Emergent Control of Nuisance Cones in Fraser Fir Christmas Tree Plantations. Forests. 2018; 9(5):233. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050233

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cregg, Bert, Dana Ellison, and Jill O’Donnell. 2018. "Post-Emergent Control of Nuisance Cones in Fraser Fir Christmas Tree Plantations" Forests 9, no. 5: 233. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050233

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