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Control of Volunteer Potato (Solanum tuberosum) in Sweet Corn with Mesotrione Is Unaffected by Atrazine and Tillage

  • Rick A. Boydston (a1), Harold P. Collins (a1) and Ashok K. Alva (a1)


Volunteer potato is a major weed pest of sweet corn in regions where winter soil temperatures fail to kill tubers left in the ground after harvest. Studies were conducted in 2004 to 2005 to determine the effect of combining atrazine with mesotrione applied POST on volunteer potato control and new tuber production in sweet corn. Mesotrione at 0.035, 0.07, and 0.1 kg/ha and atrazine at 0.3, 0.6, and 1.1 kg/ha were applied alone and in all possible combinations when volunteer potato ranged from 5 to 12 cm tall. Mesotrione applied alone at all rates, atrazine at 1.1 kg/ha, or mesotrione plus atrazine combinations reduced the number of new tubers produced to ≤ 1.1 per plant compared with 11 tubers per plant in nontreated checks. Potatoes treated with atrazine alone at 0.3 or 0.6 kg/ha produced 3.3 or 1.9 tubers per plant, respectively, which could lead to volunteer potato problems in the succeeding crop. Sweet corn yield was not affected by herbicide treatment in 2004 but was reduced in 2005 when atrazine was used alone at 0.3 or 0.6 kg/ha because of poor control of volunteer potato. Additional studies were conducted from 2004 to 2006 to determine volunteer potato control in sweet corn in reduced and conventional tillage and treated with fluroxypyr, mesotrione, or no herbicide. Volunteer potato control was improved and the number and weight of tubers was reduced 79 and 91%, respectively, in conventionally tilled plots treated with fluroxypyr compared with reduced-tillage plots. Control of volunteer potato with mesotrione was greater than 98% and reduced tuber number and weight greater than or equal to all other treatments regardless of tillage level.


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