Preemergence Herbicide Effects on Hybrid Bermudagrass Root Architecture and Establishment

in HortScience

Preemergence herbicides generally have a negative effect on hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] establishment. However, little is known about the effect they have on root architecture and development. Research was conducted to determine the effects of commonly used preemergence herbicides on ‘Latitude 36’ hybrid bermudagrass root architecture and establishment. The experiment was conducted in a climate-controlled greenhouse maintained at 26 °C day/night temperature at Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS, from Apr. 2016 to June 2016 and repeated from July 2016 to Sept. 2016. Hybrid bermudagrass plugs (31.6 cm2) were planted in 126-cm2 pots (1120 cm3) and preemergence herbicide treatments were applied 1 d after planting at the recommended labeled rate for each herbicide. Preemergence herbicide treatments included atrazine, atrazine + S-metolachlor, dithiopyr, flumioxazin, indaziflam, liquid and granular applied oxadiazon, S-metolachlor, pendimethalin, prodiamine, and simazine. Treatments were arranged in a completely randomized design with four replications. Plugs treated with indaziflam and liquid applied oxadiazon failed to achieve 50% hybrid bermudagrass cover by the end of the experiment. Of the remaining herbicide treatments, all herbicides other than granular applied oxadiazon and atrazine increased the number of days required to reach 50% cover (Days50). In addition, all herbicide treatments reduced root mass when harvested 6 weeks after treatment (WAT) relative to the nontreated. By 10 WAT, all treatments reduced root mass in run 1, but during run 2, only prodiamine, pendimethalin, simazine, atrazine + S-metolachlor, liquid applied oxadiazon, and indaziflam reduced dry root mass compared with the nontreated. At 4 WAT, all treatments other than simazine and granular applied oxadiazon reduced root length when compared with the nontreated. By 10 WAT, only dithiopyr, S-metolachlor alone, and indaziflam reduced root length when compared with the nontreated. No differences were detected in the total amounts of nonstarch nonstructural carbohydrates (TNSC) within the roots in either run of the experiment. Results suggest that indaziflam, dithiopyr, and S-metolachlor are not safe on newly established hybrid bermudagrass and should be avoided during establishment. For all other treatments, hybrid bermudagrass roots were able to recover from initial herbicidal injury by 10 WAT; however, future research should evaluate tensile strength of treated sod.

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Corresponding author. E-mail: ebegitsc@gmail.com.

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