Phytotoxicity is defined as a delay of seed germination, inhibition of plant growth or any adverse effect on plants caused by specific substances (phytotoxins) or growing conditions.The management of phytotoxicity aims at lowering the toxic effect on a crop. If not properly managed, its effects are detrimental to the general plant growth and the production level. Some symptoms of the toxic effects include leaf chlorosis, necrosis and stunted growth. In worst-case scenarios, it lead to total damage to the crop.
Abiotic factors, fertilizers, and chemicals from herbicides and pesticides are the common factors that cause phytotoxicity in crops.The level of toxicity, however, can be managed through different practices.
- Phytotoxicity resulting from herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers is manageable with the following approaches.
- Read the chemical composition of the active ingredients before applying the chemicals. Ensure to follow the required dilution rates before application to avoid causing more damage.
- Spray chemicals at the right time as directed by the manufacturer, which in most cases is early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Be aware of plants that are susceptible to phytotoxicity in certain growth stages. Some plants at their initial growth stages and flowering are sensitive to chemicals. At such stages, avoid the use of chemicals.
- Always clean equipment used to spray chemicals that cause Phytotoxicity (sulfur and chlorothalonil) before using them to spray other chemicals.
For phytotoxicity resulting from excessive fertilizer use, cultural practices like irrigation help in managing and reducing the toxic effects. The use of compost and manure also helps in degrading chemical compounds that cause phytotoxicity in soil.
Regulate abiotic factors like drought and high temperature on sensitive plants by using humidifiers and proper irrigation programs.
Mix only compatible chemicals to avoid mixtures that cause phytotoxicity on crops.
Final thoughts on management of phototoxicity
Managing phytotoxicity will require keen observation on various aspects; the chemical applied, its rates, plant susceptibility, the conditions during application, and the level of damage on the crop.