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Purple Nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) Tuber Production and Viability Are Reduced by Imazapic

  • Theodore M. Webster (a1), Timothy L. Grey (a2) and Jason A. Ferrell (a3)


Weeds exploit underutilized space, causing economic losses in cropping systems. Weed management tactics alter that underutilized space until the crop can mature and efficiently use that space. One tactic is to reduce the weed propagules (e.g., seeds and tubers) that persist quiescently in the soil, which includes minimizing production and addition of new propagules to the soil. Purple nutsedge is a problematic weed around the globe, persisting between growing seasons as tubers in the soil. Imazapic is a peanut herbicide often used in Georgia for control of purple nutsedge. The objective of the experiment was to evaluate the effect of various rates of imazapic on purple nutsedge tuber production. Single presprouted purple nutsedge tubers were transplanted into outdoor microplots and treated after 6 wk of growth with six rates of imazapic (5 to 140 g ai ha−1) POST. A nontreated control was included. All emerged shoots at the time of application were marked with plastic rings; this allowed for classification of tubers at exhumation as (1) tubers attached to shoots that were emerged at time of application, (2) tubers attached to shoots that emerged after application, and (3) tubers without an aerial shoot during the study. At 7 wk after application, the tubers in the microplots were exhumed, classified, and quantified, and their ability to sprout was evaluated. In the nontreated control, there were 544 total tubers, with a log-logistic regression model describing the declining tuber population with increasing imazapic rate. The rate of imazapic that reduced total tuber population 50% (I50) was 36 g ha−1. In the nontreated control, there were 161 tubers attached to shoots that emerged, as when compared with plots that received an imazapic application that had an I50=60 g ha−1. Viability of purple nutsedge tubers was 44% at 70 g ha−1 imazapic, suggesting the action of the herbicide may have rendered the tubers nonviable after new shoots were produced. The final classification of tubers included those that did not have an aerial shoot during the study. These were tubers in which apical dominance suppressed shoot development or were likely the most recent tubers to develop. Of the three classes, the tubers without shoots were the most prevalent in the nontreated control, with 358 tubers and an I50=18 g ha−1. Imazapic controls purple nutsedge foliage but also reduces the number of new tubers produced, and overall tuber viability and is a valuable tool in management of the long-term population density of this weed.

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Associate Editor for this paper: Ramon G. Leon, University of Florida



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