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Field studies were conducted in commercial muscadine vineyards in western North Carolina in 2018 and eastern North Carolina in 2019, 2020, and 2021 to determine tolerance of younger (< 9 yr) and older (≥ 9 yr) bearing muscadine grapevines to 2,4-D directed beneath the crop postemergence (POST). Treatments included 2,4-D choline at 0, 0.53, 1.06, 1.60, and 2.13 kg ae ha−1 applied as a single treatment in May or June (spring) at immediate pre-bloom, and sequential treatments at 0.53 followed by (fb) 0.53, 1.06 fb 1.06, 1.6 fb 1.6, or 2.13 fb 2.13 kg ha−1. The first sequential treatment was applied in spring fb another application of the same amount in July (summer) at pre-veraison. No differences in injury on muscadine grapevines were observed from 2,4-D treatments. Differences among treatments were not observed for yield of younger vines. However, for older vines, a difference due to 2,4-D rate was observed in 2018, when yield was higher when 2,4-D was applied at 1.6 kg ha−1 compared with nontreated grapevines, and when 2,4-D was applied at 0.53 and 2.13 kg ha−1. A rate-by-timing interaction was observed in 2019 when yield was lower from 0.53 kg ha−1 2,4-D summer application compared with all other summer treatments but similar to the nontreated. However, no biological pattern was observed from either of these differences. No differences among treatments were observed for fruit pH, titratable acidity, or soluble solid content of either younger or older vines.
Field studies were conducted to assess the efficacy of physical weed management of Palmer amaranth management in cucumber, peanut, and sweetpotato. Treatments were arranged in a 3 × 4 factorial in which the first factor included a treatment method of electrical, mechanical, or hand-roguing Palmer amaranth control and the second factor consisted of treatments applied when Palmer amaranth was approximately 0.3, 0.6, 0.9, or 1.2 m above the crop canopy. Four wk after treatment (WAT), the electrical applications controlled Palmer amaranth at least 27 percentage points more than the mechanical applications when applied at the 0.3- and 0.6-m timings. At the 0.9- and 1.2-m application timings 4 WAT, electrical and mechanical applications controlled Palmer amaranth by at most 87%. Though hand removal generally resulted in the greatest peanut pod count and total sweetpotato yield, mechanical and electrical control resulted in similar yield to the hand-rogued plots, depending on the treatment timing. With additional research to provide insight into the optimal applications, there is potential for electrical control and mechanical control to be used as alternatives to hand removal. Additional studies were conducted to determine the effects of electrical treatments on Palmer amaranth seed production and viability. Treatments consisted of electricity applied to Palmer amaranth at first visible inflorescence, 2 wk after first visible inflorescence (WAI) or 4 WAI. Treatments at varying reproductive maturities did not reduce the seed production immediately after treatment. However, after treatment, plants primarily died and ceased maturation, reducing seed production assessed at 4 WAI by 93% and 70% when treated at 0 and 2 WAI, respectively. Treatments did not have a negative effect on germination or seedling length.
Glufosinate is an effective postemergence herbicide, and overreliance on this herbicide for weed control is likely to increase and select for glufosinate-resistant weeds. Common assays to confirm herbicide resistance are dose–response and molecular sequencing techniques; both can require significant time, labor, unique technical equipment, and a specialized skillset to perform. As an alternative, we propose an image-based approach that uses a relatively inexpensive multispectral sensor designed for unmanned aerial vehicles to measure and quantify surface reflectance from glufosinate-treated leaf disks. Leaf disks were excised from a glufosinate-resistant and glufosinate-susceptible corn (Zea mays L.), cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] varieties and placed into a 24-well plate containing eight different concentrations (0 to 10 mM) of glufosinate for 48 h. Multispectral images were collected after the 48-h incubation period across five discrete wave bands: blue (475 to 507 nm), green (560 to 587 nm), red (668to 682 nm), red edge (717 to 729 nm), and near infrared (842 to 899 nm). The green leaf index (GLI; a metric to measure chlorophyll content) was utilized to determine relationships between measured reflectance from the tested wave bands from the treated leaf disks and the glufosinate concentration. Clear differences of spectral reflectance were observed between the corn, cotton, and soybean leaf disks of the glufosinate-resistant and glufosinate-susceptible varieties at the 10 mM concentration for select wave bands and GLI. Leaf disks from two additional glufosinate-resistant and glufosinate-susceptible varieties of each crop were subjected to a similar assay with two concentrations: 0 and 10 mM. No differences of spectral reflectance were observed from the corn and soybean varieties in all wave bands and the GLI. The leaf disks of the glufosinate-resistant and glufosinate-susceptible cotton varieties were spectrally distinct in the green, blue, and red-edge wave bands. The results provide a basis for rapidly detecting glufosinate-resistant plants via spectral reflectance. Future research will need to determine the glufosinate concentrations, useful wave bands, and susceptible/resistant thresholds for weeds that evolve resistance.
The adoption of dicamba-resistant cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) cultivars allows using dicamba to reduce weed populations across growing seasons. However, the overuse of this tool risks selecting new herbicide-resistant biotypes. The objectives of this research were to determine the population trajectories of several weed species and track the frequency of glyphosate-resistant (GR) Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) over 8 yr in dicamba-resistant cotton. An experiment was established in North Carolina in 2011, and during the first 4 yr, different herbicide programs were applied. These programs included postemergence applications of glyphosate, alone or with dicamba, with or without residual herbicides. During the last 4 yr, all programs received glyphosate plus dicamba. Biennial rotations of postemergence applications of glyphosate only and glyphosate plus dicamba postemergence with and without preemergence herbicides were also included. Sequential applications of glyphosate plus dicamba were applied to the entire test area for the final 4 yr of the study. No herbicide program was entirely successful in controlling the weed community. Weed population trajectories were different according to species and herbicide program, creating all possible outcomes; some increased, others decreased, and others remained stable. Density of resistant A. palmeri increased during the first 4 yr with glyphosate-only programs (up to 11,739 plants m−2) and decreased a 96% during the final 4 yr, when glyphosate plus dicamba was implemented. This species had a strong influence on population levels of other weed species in the community. Goosegrass [Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn.] was not affected by A. palmeri population levels and even increased its density in some herbicide programs, indicating that not only herbicide resistance but also reproductive rates and competitive dynamics are critical for determining weed population trajectories under intensive herbicide-based control programs. Frequency of glyphosate resistance reached a maximum of 62% after 4 yr, and those levels were maintained until the end of the experiment.
Field studies were conducted on southern highbush blueberry in Elizabethtown and Rocky Point, NC, in 2019, 2020, and 2021 to determine tolerance to 2,4-D choline as a postemergence-directed application. In separate trials for younger and older bearing blueberry bushes, both 2,4-D choline rates and application timing were evaluated. Treatments included 2,4-D choline at 0, 0.53, 1.06, 1.60, and 2.13 kg ae ha–1 applied alone in winter during dormancy, and sequential treatments at 0.53 kg ae ha–1 followed by (fb) 0.53, 1.06 fb 1.06, 1.6 fb 1.6, or 2.13 fb 2.13 kg ae ha–1. The first application of the sequential treatments was applied in winter followed by another application in spring during early green fruit. Injury to blueberry from 2,4-D choline treatments was not observed for either maturity stage, and fruit yield was not affected by any of the treatments. Differences among treatments were not observed for fruit soluble solid content (SSC) in older bushes, or for fruit pH, SSC, and titratable acidity (TA) in younger bushes. In older bushes, fruit pH and TA had rate-by-timing interactions, and TA had a farm-year interaction with differences at Rocky Point in 2019 and Elizabethtown in 2020, but biologically no pattern was observed from the treatments.
Field studies were conducted to determine the effects of synthetic auxin herbicides at simulated exposure rates applied to ‘Covington’ sweetpotato propagation beds on the quality of nonrooted stem cuttings (slips). Treatments included diglycolamine salt of dicamba, 2,4-D choline plus nonionic surfactant (NIS), and 2,4-D choline plus glyphosate at 1/10, 1/33, or 1/66 of a 1X application rate (560 g ae ha−1 dicamba, 1,065 g ae ha−1 2,4-D choline, 1,130 g ae ha−1 glyphosate) applied at 2 or 4 wk after first slip harvest (WASH). Injury to sweetpotato 2 wk after treatment was greatest when herbicides were applied 2 WASH (21%) compared to 4 WASH (16%). More slip injury was caused by 2,4-D choline than by dicamba, and the addition of glyphosate did not increase injury over 2,4-D choline alone. Two weeks after the second application, sweetpotato slips were cut 2 cm above the soil surface and transplanted into production fields. In 2019, sweetpotato ground coverage 8 wk after transplanting was reduced 37% and 26% by the 1/10X rates of dicamba and 2,4-D choline plus NIS, respectively. Though dicamba caused less injury to propagation beds than 2,4-D choline with or without glyphosate, after transplanting, slips treated with 1/10X dicamba did not recover as quickly as those treated with 2,4-D choline. In 2020, sweetpotato ground coverage was 90% or greater for all treatments. Dicamba applied 2 WASH decreased marketable sweetpotato storage root yield by 59% compared to the nontreated check, whereas treatments including 2,4-D choline reduced marketable yield 22% to 29%. All herbicides applied at 4 WASH reduced marketable yield 31% to 36%. The addition of glyphosate to 2,4-D choline did not increase sweetpotato yield. Results indicate that caution should be taken when deciding whether to transplant sweetpotato slips that are suspected to have been exposed to dicamba or 2,4-D choline.
Field studies in strawberry grown on polyethylene-mulched raised beds were conducted from 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020 in Clayton, NC, to determine ‘Camarosa’ and ‘Chandler’ strawberry tolerance to 2,4-D directed to the row middle between beds. Treatments included 2,4-D at 0, 0.53, 1.06, 1.60, and 2.13 kg ae ha−1 applied alone and sequential treatments (0.53 followed by [fb] 0.53 or 1.06 fb 1.06 kg ae ha−1). Initial treatments were applied in winter (December 2018 or January 2020) during vegetative growth, and sequential applications were applied in spring (April 2019 or March 2020) during reproductive growth. No differences among treatments were observed for visual foliage injury, strawberry crop canopy, fruit yield, and fruit quality (pH, titratable acidity, and soluble solid content).
Field studies were conducted in North Carolina in 2018 and 2019 to determine sweetpotato tolerance to indaziflam and its effectiveness in controlling Palmer amaranth in sweetpotato. Treatments included indaziflam pre-transplant; 7 d after transplanting (DATr) or 14 DATr at 29, 44, 58, or 73 g ai ha−1; and checks (weedy and weed-free). Indaziflam applied postemergence caused transient foliar injury to sweetpotato. Indaziflam pretransplant caused less injury to sweetpotato than other application timings regardless of rate. Palmer amaranth control was greatest when indaziflam was applied pretransplant or 7 DATr. In a weed-free environment, sweetpotato marketable yield decreased as indaziflam application was delayed. No differences in storage root length to width ratio were observed.
The utilization of remote sensing in agriculture has great potential to change the methods of field scouting for weeds. Previous remote sensing research has been focused on the ability to detect and differentiate between species. However, these studies have not addressed weed density variability throughout a field. Furthermore, the impact of changing phenology of crops and weeds within and between growing seasons has not been investigated. To address these research gaps, field studies were conducted in 2016 and 2017 at the Horticultural Crops Research Station near Clinton, NC. Two problematic weed species, Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) and large crabgrass [Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.], were planted at four densities in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. Additionally, these weed densities were grown in the presence and absence of the crop to determine the influence of crop presence on the detection and discrimination of weed species and density. Hyperspectral data were collected over various phenological time points in each year. Differentiation between plant species and weed density was not consistent across cropping systems, phenology, or season. Weed species were distinguishable across more spectra when no soybean was present. In 2016, weed species were not distinguishable, while in 2017, differentiation occurred at 4 wk after planting (WAP) and 15 WAP when weeds were present with soybean. When soybean was not present, differentiation occurred only at 5 WAP in 2016 and at 3 WAP through 15 WAP in 2017. Differentiation between weed densities did occur in both years with and without soybean present, but weed density could be differentiated across more spectra when soybean was not present. This study demonstrates that weed and crop reflectance is dynamic throughout the season and that spectral reflectance can be affected by weed species and density.
Laboratory and greenhouse studies were conducted to evaluate the effects of chemical treatments applied to Palmer amaranth seeds or gynoecious plants that retain seeds to determine seed germination and quality. Treatments applied to physiologically mature Palmer amaranth seed included acifluorfen, dicamba, ethephon, flumioxazin, fomesafen, halosulfuron, linuron, metribuzin, oryzalin, pendimethalin, pyroxasulfone, S-metolachlor, saflufenacil, trifluralin, and 2,4-D plus crop oil concentrate applied at 1× and 2× the suggested use rates from the manufacturer. Germination was reduced by 20% when 2,4-D was used, 15% when dicamba was used, and 13% when halosulfuron and pyroxasulfone were used. Use of dicamba, ethephon, halosulfuron, oryzalin, trifluralin, and 2,4-D resulted in decreased seedling length by an average of at least 50%. Due to the observed effect of dicamba, ethephon, halosulfuron, oryzalin, trifluralin, and 2,4-D, these treatments were applied to gynoecious Palmer amaranth inflorescence at the 2× registered application rates to evaluate their effects on progeny seed. Dicamba use resulted in a 24% decrease in seed germination, whereas all other treatment results were similar to those of the control. Crush tests showed that seed viability was greater than 95%, thus dicamba did not have a strong effect on seed viability. No treatments applied to Palmer amaranth inflorescence affected average seedling length; therefore, chemical treatments did not affect the quality of seeds that germinated.
Field studies were conducted to evaluate linuron for POST control of Palmer amaranth in sweetpotato to minimize reliance on protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO)-inhibiting herbicides. Treatments were arranged in a two by four factorial in which the first factor consisted of two rates of linuron (420 and 700 g ai ha−1), and the second factor consisted of linuron applied alone or in combinations of linuron plus a nonionic surfactant (NIS; 0.5% vol/vol), linuron plus S-metolachlor (800 g ai ha−1), or linuron plus NIS plus S-metolachlor. In addition, S-metolachlor alone and nontreated weedy and weed-free checks were included for comparison. Treatments were applied to ‘Covington’ sweetpotato 8 d after transplanting (DAP). S-metolachlor alone provided poor Palmer amaranth control because emergence had occurred at applications. All treatments that included linuron resulted in at least 98% and 91% Palmer amaranth control 1 and 2 wk after treatment (WAT), respectively. Including NIS with linuron did not increase Palmer amaranth control compared to linuron alone, but it resulted in greater sweetpotato injury and subsequently decreased total sweetpotato yield by 25%. Including S-metolachlor with linuron resulted in the greatest Palmer amaranth control 4 WAT, but increased crop foliar injury to 36% 1 WAT compared to 17% foliar injury from linuron alone. Marketable and total sweetpotato yields were similar between linuron alone and linuron plus S-metolachlor or S-metolachlor plus NIS treatments, though all treatments resulted in at least 39% less total yield than the weed-free check resulting from herbicide injury and/or Palmer amaranth competition. Because of the excellent POST Palmer amaranth control from linuron 1 WAT, a system that includes linuron applied 7 DAP followed by S-metolachlor applied 14 DAP could help to extend residual Palmer amaranth control further into the critical period of weed control while minimizing sweetpotato injury.
Field studies were conducted in 2019 and 2020 to compare the effects of shade cloth light interception and Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) competition on ‘Covington’ sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.]. Treatments consisted of a seven by two factorial arrangement, in which the first factor included shade cloth with an average measured light interception of 41%, 59%, 76%, and 94% and A. palmeri thinned to 0.6 or 3.1 plants m−2 or a nontreated weed-free check; and the second factor included shade cloth or A. palmeri removal timing at 6 or 10 wk after planting (WAP). Amaranthus palmeri light interception peaked around 710 to 840 growing degree days (base 10 C) (6 to 7 WAP) with a maximum light interception of 67% and 84% for the 0.6 and 3.1 plants m−2 densities, respectively. Increasing shade cloth light interception by 1% linearly increased yield loss by 1% for No. 1, jumbo, and total yield. Yield loss increased by 36%, 23%, and 35% as shade cloth removal was delayed from 6 to 10 WAP for No. 1, jumbo, and total yield, respectively. F-tests comparing reduced versus full models of yield loss provided no evidence that the presence of yield loss from A. palmeri light interception caused yield loss different than that explained by the shade cloth at similar light-interception levels. Results indicate that shade cloth structures could be used to simulate Covington sweetpotato yield loss from A. palmeri competition, and light interception could be used as a predictor for expected yield loss from A. palmeri competition.
Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) populations resistant to acetolactate synthase (ALS)-inhibiting herbicides and glyphosate are fairly common throughout the state of North Carolina (NC). This has led farm managers to rely more heavily on herbicides with other sites of action (SOA) for A. palmeri control, especially protoporphyrinogen oxidase and glutamine synthetase inhibitors. In the fall of 2016, seeds from A. palmeri populations were collected from the NC Coastal Plain, the state’s most prominent agricultural region. In separate experiments, plants with 2 to 4 leaves from the 110 populations were treated with field use rates of glyphosate, glufosinate-ammonium, fomesafen, mesotrione, or thifensulfuron-methyl. Percent visible control and survival were evaluated 3 wk after treatment. Survival frequencies were highest following glyphosate (99%) or thifensulfuron-methyl (96%) treatment. Known mutations conferring resistance to ALS inhibitors were found in populations surviving thifensulfuron-methyl application (Ala-122-Ser, Pro-197-Ser, Trp-574-Leu, and/or Ser-653-Asn), in addition to a new mutation (Ala-282-Asp) that requires further investigation. Forty-two populations had survivors after mesotrione application, with one population having 17% survival. Four populations survived fomesafen treatment, while none survived glufosinate. Dose–response studies showed an increase in fomesafen needed to kill 50% of two populations (LD50); however, these rates were far below the field use rate (less than 5 g ha−1). In two populations following mesotrione dose–response studies, a 2.4- to 3.3-fold increase was noted, with LD90 values approaching the field use rate (72.8 and 89.8 g ha−1). Screening of the progeny of individuals surviving mesotrione confirmed the presence of resistance alleles, as there were a higher number of survivors at the 1X rate compared with the parent population, confirming resistance to mesotrione. These data suggest A. palmeri resistant to chemistries other than glyphosate and thifensulfuron-methyl are present in NC, which highlights the need for weed management approaches to mitigate the evolution and spread of herbicide-resistant populations.
The effect of plant phenology and canopy structure of four crops and four weed species on reflectance spectra were evaluated in 2016 and 2017 using in situ spectroscopy. Leaf-level and canopy-level reflectance were collected at multiple phenologic time points in each growing season. Reflectance values at 2 wk after planting (WAP) in both years indicated strong spectral differences between species across the visible (VIS; 350–700 nm), near-infrared (NIR; 701–1,300 nm), shortwave-infrared I (SWIR1; 1,301–1,900 nm), and shortwave-infrared II (SWIR2; 1,901–2,500 nm) regions. Results from this study indicate that plant spectral reflectance changes with plant phenology and is influenced by plant biophysical characteristics. Canopy-level differences were detected in both years across all dates except for 1 WAP in 2017. Species with similar canopy types (e.g., broadleaf prostrate, broadleaf erect, or grass/sedge) were more readily discriminated from species with different canopy types. Asynchronous phenology between species also resulted in spectral differences between species. SWIR1 and SWIR2 wavelengths are often not included in multispectral sensors but should be considered for species differentiation. Results from this research indicate that wavelengths in SWIR1 and SWIR2 in conjunction with VIS and NIR reflectance can provide differentiation across plant phenologies and, therefore should be considered for use in future sensor technologies for species differentiation.
Overreliance on herbicides for weed control has led to the evolution of herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth populations. Farm managers should consider the long-term consequences of their short-term management decisions, especially when considering the soil weed seedbank. The objectives of this research were to (1) determine how soybean population and POST herbicide application timing affects in-season Palmer amaranth control and soybean yield, and (2) how those variables influence Palmer amaranth densities and cotton yields the following season. Soybeans were planted (19-cm row spacing) at a low-, medium-, and high-density population (268,000, 546,000, and 778,000 plants ha–1, respectively). Fomesafen and clethodim (280 and 210 g ai ha–1, respectively) were applied at the VE, V1, or V2 to V3 soybean growth stage. Nontreated plots were also included to assess the effect of soybean population alone. The following season, cotton was planted into these plots so as to understand the effects of soybean planting population on Palmer amaranth densities in the subsequent crop. When an herbicide application occurred at the V1 or V2 to V3 soybean stage, weed control in the high-density soybean population increased 17% to 23% compared to the low-density population. Economic return was not influenced by soybean population and was increased 72% to 94% with herbicide application compared to no treatment. In the subsequent cotton crop, Palmer amaranth densities were 24% to 39% lower 3 wk after planting when following soybean sprayed with herbicides compared to soybean without herbicides. Additionally, Palmer amaranth densities in cotton were 19% lower when soybean was treated at the VE stage compared to later stages. Thus, increasing soybean population can improve Palmer amaranth control without adversely affecting economic returns and can reduce future weed densities. Reducing the weed seedbank and selection pressure from herbicides are critical in mitigating resistance evolution.
Field studies were conducted to determine sweetpotato tolerance to and weed control from management systems that included linuron. Treatments included flumioxazin preplant (107 g ai ha−1) followed by (fb) S-metolachlor (800 g ai ha−1), oryzalin (840 g ai ha−1), or linuron (280, 420, 560, 700, and 840 g ai ha−1) alone or mixed with S-metolachlor or oryzalin applied 7 d after transplanting. Weeds did not emerge before the treatment applications. Two of the four field studies were maintained weed-free throughout the season to evaluate sweetpotato tolerance without weed interference. The herbicide program with the greatest sweetpotato yield was flumioxazin fb S-metolachlor. Mixing linuron with S-metolachlor did not improve Palmer amaranth management and decreased marketable yield by up to 28% compared with flumioxazin fb S-metolachlor. Thus, linuron should not be applied POST in sweetpotato if Palmer amaranth has not emerged at the time of application.
Field trials were conducted in North Carolina in 2017 and Louisiana and Mississippi in 2018 to determine the effect of pretransplanting applications of diquat on sweetpotato crop tolerance, yield, and storage root quality. In North Carolina treatments consisted of two rates of diquat (560 or 1,120 g ai ha−1) alone or mixed with 107 g ai ha−1 flumioxazin and applied 1 d before transplanting (DBP), sequential applications of diquat (560 or 1,120 g ha−1) 1 and 17 DBP, 107 g ha−1 flumioxazin alone, and a nontreated check. In Louisiana and Mississippi treatments consisted of diquat (560 or 1,120 g ha−1) applied 1 DBP either alone or followed by (fb) rehipping rows or 107 g ha−1 flumioxazin immediately prior to transplanting. Additional treatments included 546 g ha−1 paraquat applied 1 DBP and a nontreated check. In North Carolina injury was ≤3% for all treatments through 23 d after transplanting (DAP), and no injury was observed after 23 DAP. Visual sweetpotato stunting pooled across the Mississippi and Louisiana trials ranged from 1% to 14%, 0% to 6%, and 0% to 3% at 2, 4, and 6 wk after planting (WAP), respectively, and no crop injury was observed after 6 WAP. Diquat applied 1 DBP and not fb rehipping resulted in greater crop injury (12%) than comparable treatments that were rehipped (2%). In North Carolina single and sequential diquat applications resulted in reduced No. 1 sweetpotato yield (24,230 and 24,280 kg ha−1, respectively) compared with the nontreated check, but No. 1 yield when diquat plus flumioxazin (26,330 kg ha−1) was used was similar to that of the nontreated check. No. 1 yield did not differ by treatment in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Management options are needed to limit sweetpotato yield loss due to weeds. Greenhouse studies were conducted in 2018 in Greensboro, NC, and in the field from 2016 to 2018 in Clinton, NC, to evaluate the effect of bicyclopyrone on sweetpotato and Palmer amaranth (field only). In greenhouse studies, Covington and NC04-531 clones were treated with bicyclopyrone (0, 25, 50, 100, or 150 g ai ha−1) either preplant (PP; i.e., immediately before transplanting) or post-transplant (PT; i.e., on the same day after transplanting). Sweetpotato plant injury and stunting increased, and vine length and shoot dry weight decreased with increasing rate of bicyclopyrone regardless of clone or application timing. In field studies, Beauregard (2016) or Covington (2017 and 2018) sweetpotato clones were treated with bicyclopyrone at 50 g ha−1 PP, flumioxazin at 107 g ai ha−1 PP, bicyclopyrone at 50 or 100 g ha−1 PP followed by (fb) S-metolachlor at 800 g ai ha−1 PT, flumioxazin at 107 g ha−1 PP fb S-metolachlor at 800 g ha−1 PT, flumioxazin at 107 g ha−1 PP fb S-metolachlor at 800 g ha−1 PT fb bicyclopyrone at 50 g ha−1 PT-directed, and clomazone at 420 g ai ha−1 PP fb S-metolachlor at 800 g ha−1 PT. Bicyclopyrone PP at 100 g ha−1 fb S-metolachlor PT caused 33% or greater crop stunting and 44% or greater marketable yield reduction compared with the weed-free check in 2016 (Beauregard) and 2017 (Covington). Bicyclopyrone PP at 50 g ha−1 alone or fb S-metolachlor PT resulted in 12% or less injury and similar no. 1 and jumbo yields as the weed-free check in 2 of 3 yr. Injury to Covington from bicyclopyrone PT-directed was 4% or less at 4 or 5 wk after transplanting and marketable yield was similar to that of the weed-free check in 2017 and 2018.
Palmer amaranth is the most common and troublesome weed in North Carolina sweetpotato. Field studies were conducted in Clinton, NC, in 2016 and 2017 to determine the critical timing of Palmer amaranth removal in ‘Covington’ sweetpotato. Palmer amaranth was grown with sweetpotato from transplanting to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 wk after transplanting (WAP) and maintained weed-free for the remainder of the season. Palmer amaranth height and shoot dry biomass increased as Palmer amaranth removal was delayed. Season-long competition by Palmer amaranth interference reduced marketable yields by 85% and 95% in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Sweetpotato yield loss displayed a strong inverse linear relationship with Palmer amaranth height. A 0.6% and 0.4% decrease in yield was observed for every centimeter of Palmer amaranth growth in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The critical timing for Palmer amaranth removal, based on 5% loss of marketable yield, was determined by fitting a log-logistic model to the relative yield data and was determined to be 2 WAP. These results show that Palmer amaranth is highly competitive with sweetpotato and should be managed as early as possible in the season. The requirement of an early critical timing of weed removal to prevent yield loss emphasizes the importance of early-season scouting and Palmer amaranth removal in sweetpotato fields. Any delay in removal can result in substantial yield reductions and fewer premium quality roots.
Field trials were conducted near Pontotoc, Mississippi; Chase, Louisiana; and Clinton, North Carolina, in 2017 and 2018 to determine the effect of pendimethalin rate and timing application on sweetpotato crop tolerance, yield, and storage root quality. Treatments consisted of five pendimethalin rates (266, 532, 1,065, 1,597, and 2,130 g ai ha−1) by two application timings (0 to 1 or 10 to 14 d after transplanting). Additionally, a nontreated check was included for comparison. Crop injury (stunting) was minimal (≤4%) through 6 wk after transplanting (WAP) and no injury was observed from 8 to 14 WAP, regardless of application timing or rate. The nontreated check yielded 6.6, 17.6, 5.5, and 32.1 × 103 kg ha−1 of canner, no. 1, jumbo, and total grades, respectively. Neither pendimethalin application timing nor rate influenced jumbo, no. 1, marketable, or total sweetpotato yield. Overall, these results indicate that pendimethalin will be a valuable addition to the toolkit of sweetpotato growers.