Weed control decision rules were derived for the application of postemergence herbicides to control pigweed species in soybean. Field experiments were conducted at two locations in 1992 and 1993 to evaluate soybean-pigweed interference. A damage function was determined that related yield loss to time of pigweed emergence, density, and soybean weed-free yield. A control function described pigweed species response to variable doses of imazethapyr and thifensulfuron. The integration of these two functions formed the basis of an economic model used to derive two weed control decision rules, the biologist's “threshold weed density” and the economist's “optimal dose.” Time of weed emergence had a more significant role than weed density in the economic model. Later-emerging pigweed caused less yield loss and therefore, decision rules lead to overuse of herbicides if emergence time is not considered. The selected herbicide dose influenced the outcome of the control function. Depending on the desired level of weed control, a herbicide could be chosen to either eradicate the escaped weed species (label or biologically-effective doses) or reduce the growth of the weed species and thereby offset interference (optimal dose). The development of a biologically-effective dose by weed species matrix was recommended. Decision rules should not be utilized as an exclusive weed management strategy but rather as a component of an integrated weed management program.