University of California researchers have found that strawberry growers who use totally impermeable film as part of a fumigation program boost the chemical's effectiveness while better protecting the environment.

The researchers compared TIF film with the standard film used by growers in the Salinas production area, according to a news release.

California strawberry growers have widely adopted 1,3, dichloropropene, marketed as Telone and Inline, as a replacement for methyl bromide.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has placed additional restrictions on 1,3-D, including limiting the amount that can be applied in each township.

1,3-D fumigation concentrations under the TIF were 46 percent to 54 percent higher than under standard film.

The concentrations correlated to higher strawberry yields and better weed control.

The TIF film holds fumigants in the soil longer, increasing their effectiveness, according to Steve Fennimore, a UC Cooperative Extension weed specialist and research project leader.

It also reduces fumigant emissions and the amount of fumigant needed to treat a field.

Part of the research also examined the effectiveness of methyl bromide/chloropicrin with different amounts of 1,3-D/chloropicrin.

The scientists found that growers who used TIF could achieve fruit yield and weed control similar to methyl bromide/chloropicrin using 33 percent less 1,3-D/chloropicrin.