Sinalbin, the same compound that gives white mustard its pungent flavor, could also prove useful in fighting weeds. Agricultural Research Service studies suggest sinalbin and other compounds released into soil by applications of white mustard seed meals can kill or suppress certain weedy grasses and annual broadleaf weeds.
Agronomist Rick Boydston, with the ARS Vegetable and Forage Crops Research Unit in Prosser, Wash., is conducting the studies with plant physiologist Steven Vaughn, at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill. They evaluated the effects of three mustard seed application rates: half a ton, one ton and two tons per acre. Of the three, the one-ton and two-ton rates worked best in peppermint, reducing barnyard grass, green foxtail, common lambsquarters, henbit and redroot pigweed populations by 90 percent several weeks after application.
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