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Amber N. Bates, Gerald M. Henry and Cynthia B. McKenney

No research has investigated the phytotoxic response of hooker’s evening primrose (Oenothera elata) plug transplants to preemergence herbicides. Varied phytotoxic responses of common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) to preemergence herbicides suggest that options may exist for the safe control of weeds present within hooker’s evening primrose when grown as an agronomic field crop. Enhanced weed control during early establishment may reduce competition for water and nutrients as well as increase seed yield and oil content. Therefore, the objective of this research was to determine the phytotoxic effect of preemergence herbicides on hooker’s evening primrose plug transplants grown in the greenhouse. Research was conducted in 2010 and 2011 at the Plant and Soil Science greenhouse complex at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. Herbicide treatments were applied on 13 July 2010 and 5 Apr. 2011 and consisted of oxadiazon at 3 lb/acre, isoxaben at 0.5 lb/acre, oryzalin at 2 lb/acre, prodiamine at 1.5 lb/acre, dithiopyr at 0.5 lb/acre, s-metolachlor at 1.8 lb/acre, pendimethalin at 0.6 lb/acre, and isoxaben + trifluralin at 2.5 lb/acre. One 4-month-old hooker’s evening primrose plug (2 inches wide) was transplanted into each pot (3 gal) 2 days after treatment (DAT). Dithiopyr and s-metolachlor treatments exhibited similar lack of phytotoxicity as the untreated control 7 DAT. Phytotoxicity ≥13% was observed for trifluralin + isoxaben, pendimethalin, prodiamine, oryzalin, isoxaben, and oxadiazon 7 DAT, with the highest level of phytotoxicity (24%) exhibited by trifluralin + isoxaben treatments. Hooker’s evening primrose phytotoxicity decreased (plants grew out of the damage) for all treatments except trifluralin + isoxaben, pendimethalin, and oryzalin 28 DAT. Oryzalin (16%) and trifluralin + isoxaben (60%) were the only two treatments that did not exhibit similar phytotoxicity to the untreated control 28 DAT. There were no significant differences in aboveground or belowground biomass nor plant growth index (PGI) of any of the treatments when compared with the untreated control 28 DAT. Based upon the results of this trial, pendimethalin, prodiamine, dithiopyr, s-metolachlor, oryzalin, isoxaben, and oxadiazon may be used for preemergence weed control in hooker’s evening primrose without causing excessive phytotoxicity (>20%), potential yield loss, or both. Trifluralin + isoxaben treatments exhibited 60% hooker’s evening primrose phytotoxicity 28 DAT, which resulted in too low of an initial plant stand to warrant use.