Papaya seedlings are slow to establish and their growth can be quickly outpaced by weeds, so most growers find that some type of weed control is imperative. Unfortunately, papayas are shallow-rooted and papaya damage from herbicides is always a risk. Understanding papaya herbicide problems may help you prevent and mitigate herbicide injury of papaya. Read on to learn more.
Papaya and Weed Killers
Signs of papaya damage from herbicides may differ depending on stage of growth, plant size, temperature, relative humidity, soil moisture, and type of herbicide used. Papaya herbicide injury may affect blooms, leaves, stems, and fruit.
Common symptoms of papaya herbicide injury include the following:
- Cupping or curling of lower leaves
- Mottled and discolored leaves
- Stem dieback
- Poor fruit quality
- Spots or freckles on fruit, sometimes with water-soaked appearance
- Reduced yield
Treating Papaya Herbicide Problems
There may not be a lot you can do if your papaya tree is severely injured by herbicides, and in some cases, damage can show up for years to come.
The good news is that extra care for next few months may pull a lightly damaged tree out of the danger zone. Fertilize in spring and continue to keep weeds in check. Water properly, especially during dry conditions. Keep a close watch for insects and disease.
Preventing papaya damage from herbicides includes thoroughly reading and following the directions on product labels. Never apply herbicides when the wind is blowing toward papaya trees. Ideally, herbicides should be applied when a slight breeze is blowing in the opposite direction.
Follow label recommendations regarding temperature to minimize risk of vaporization. Clean the tank and sprayer thoroughly between uses. The label will have recommendations on the best ways of achieving this.
Use application techniques that minimize fine droplets or mist. For example, use a wide-angle nozzle with proper tips. Apply herbicides at lower pressure with the nozzle close to the ground.