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Affectivity of Chemical Weed Control in Commercial Tea Plantations: A Case Study in Hapugastenne Estate, Maskeliya, Sri Lanka

Peiris, H.M.P., Nissanka, S.P.
Procedia Food Science 2016 v.6 pp. 318-322
business enterprises, case studies, defoliation, fertilizer application, food crops, food science, food security, glyphosate, green manures, herbicide-resistant weeds, human health, leaves, paraquat, plantations, residual effects, tea, Sri Lanka
The usage of agro chemicals on food crops is getting restricted day by day with the sanctions set by the institutes devoted in food security, mainly due to the disclosure of their harmful residual effects on human health. Thus, several Commercial Tea Plantation companies have voluntarily suspended the use of many Herbicides on Tea under their charge, which are still permitted to use in Sri Lanka. Intense emergence of Herbicide tolerant weed species on treated areas was noted in the mean time, although this crucial factor had been remained un-noticed as a result of frequent manual weeding under taken by the Tea estates under various other accounts such as plucking, fertilizer application, mossing and ferning green manure etc. Therefore, an investigation was carried out to ascertain the affectivity of Herbicides recommended for Commercial Tea Plantations, over a period of 24 months in Hapugastenne Tea Garden, Maskeliya, since year 2012 at five different elevations, with five replicates set at each elevation. Results show that over 20 weed species out of 23 acutely problematic weeds which cause great damage to Tea crop, are entirely tolerant to Diurone, Paraquat and Glyphosate and cannot be controlled by using said Herbicides. It was further revealed that such weed species have the ability to turn a Tea Plantation into a totally unproductive and economically non-viable unit within a time period of one to two years depending on the herbicide tolerant weed species present. These weeds are capable of suppressing the growth of the Tea bushes by making them stunted in growth with poor bush frames, turn the foliage yellowish and induce defoliation, unless they were removed completely by manual uprooting.