Dose-Dependent Phytotoxicity of Pesticides in Simulated Nursery Runoff on Landscape Nursery Plants
Fernandez, R. Thomas
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Managers of ornamental nurseries are increasingly reusing runoff water as an irrigation source, but residual pesticides in recycled water may result in plant phytotoxicity on crop plants. Our study focused on understanding the responses of container-grown landscape plants to residual pesticides in irrigation water. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Cornus obliqua ‘Powell garden’, and Hosta ‘Gold standard’ were exposed to various concentrations of isoxaben, chlorpyrifos, and oxyfluorfen (0, 0.15, 0.35, 0.7, and 1.4 mg/L of isoxaben; 0, 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.4 mg/L of chlorpyrifos; and 0, 0.005, 0.01, 0.015, and 0.02 mg/L of oxyfluorfen) applied as overhead irrigation. After three months of application, we assessed the dry weight biomass, growth, and parameters related to photosynthetic physiology (SPAD chlorophyll index, light-adapted chlorophyll fluorescence, and photosynthesis carbon dioxide response (A/Ci) curves. We also sampled plant leaf, stem, and root tissues for residual pesticides. The effects of the pesticides were pesticide-specific and taxa-specific. Exposure to oxyfluorfen resulted in visible injury in all three taxa and reduced total biomass, chlorophyll index, and photosynthesis in Hydrangea and Hosta. All three taxa absorbed and retained pesticides in leaf and stem tissues. Growers should follow best management practices to reduce exposure from irrigation with runoff, particularly for herbicides with post-emergent activity.