EDITOR'S NOTE — The following information was compiled by A. Stanley Culpepper and Charles Hall of the University of Georgia and the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.

Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) ranks as the fifth most common and the most troublesome weed infesting pepper fields in the state of Georgia. At this time, methyl bromide is the only control method available that consistently manages yellow nutsedge.

As many are aware, methyl bromide is being phased out of production under a United Nations treaty called the Montreal Protocol. The Treaty calls for the phase-out to be complete by January, 2005.

In addition to the loss of methyl bromide, its price continues to increase forcing growers to either choose alternate fumigants or reduce their rates of methyl bromide. When alternate fumigates are applied or if the methyl bromide rate is reduced, yellow nutsedge escapes are common.

Because nutsedge poses a serious threat to Georgia pepper production, the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, in cooperation with Syngenta, secured its first Section 24c special local need label for Dual Magnum in pepper as an effort to help manage yellow nutsedge. The label is now available for growers through the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.

The label MUST be obtained from the association and has to be present at the time of application. To secure a label, growers must indemnify GFVGA and Syngenta for any herbicide damage to the pepper plants since Dual Magnum does not carry a label for pepper. Contact your local county Extension office for additional information regarding application method, rates of Dual Magnum to apply, and crop tolerance issues when used improperly in pepper.

This effort by the GFVGA could have a tremendous impact in future pepper production.

For example, pepper trials conducted during the fall of 2003 showed the addition of a herbicide system including Dual Magnum improved nutsedge control 29 percent to 39 percent above that noted by several fumigant options, including methyl bromide.

Additionally, the herbicide system increased the total number of 28-pound pepper boxes harvested per acre by 38 percent.