Wild garlic, a plant native to Europe, is a troublesome turfgrass weed throughout the southeastern United States. A member of the lily family (Liliaceae), the dark green color of this plant stands out among warm-season turfgrass species during winter dormancy periods. Wild garlic is a monocot that is morphologically characterized as an erect perennial herb that can grow up to 90 cm in height (Bryson and DeFelice, 2009). Shoots are hollow and rounded and release a distinct alliaceous, or “garlicky,” odor upon crushing or cutting.
Despite its prominence as a weed in maintained turfgrass, published research pertaining to wild garlic control has been somewhat limited. Synthetic auxin chemistries, including 2,4-D, have been used to control wild garlic (Davis et al., 1962). Auxins are not always safe to sensitive turfgrass species, particularly st. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) and centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) (Kelly and Coats, 2000; Ni et al., 2006).
Nonselective herbicides have also proven useful for control of wild garlic. Glyphosate either equaled or surpassed control achieved by 2,4-D in studies by Hardcastle (1976) and Troutman et al. (1981). However, glyphosate applications are limited to warm-season species, such as bermudagrass (Cynodon dactlyon) and zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica), during winter dormancy. Peters and McKelvey (1982) found that spring applications of paraquat in kentucky bluegrass (Poa pretensis) sod at a rate of 0.56 kg·ha−1 consistently controlled wild garlic; however, paraquat is not labeled for use in turfgrass. The acetolactate synthase-inhibiting herbicides, such as metsulfuron (Leys and Slife, 1987), chlorsulfuron (Ferrell et al., 2004; Leys and Slife, 1982, 1986; Patton et al., 2008), and imazethapyr (Ferguson et al., 1992), provide acceptable visual control of wild garlic ranging from to 85% to 95%. Likewise, thifensulfuron controlled wild garlic >90% in soft red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) and reduced the viability of bulbs produced (Gast et al., 1990).
Prior literature on this subject largely ignores common applications in maintained turfgrass scenarios. Our objective for this study was to further evaluate commonly applied turfgrass herbicides for wild garlic efficacy.
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