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- Author or Editor: Drew A. Wolter x
Threespike goosegrass (Eleusine tristachya) is a difficult-to-control perennial grass of increasing concern for orchard production systems in the Central Valley of California, USA. This grass has a bunch-type growth habit when tillered, which can interfere with orchard operations, particularly nut pickup from the ground at harvest. From 2016 to 2019, herbicide efficacy on threespike goosegrass was evaluated in a walnut (Juglans regia) orchard in Chico, CA, USA; an almond (Prunus dulcis) orchard in Livingston, CA, USA; and a prune (Prunus domestica) orchard in Orland, CA, USA. At each location, two independent experiments were conducted to evaluate 12 preemergent (PRE) herbicide treatments and eight postemergent (POST) treatments over several years, for a total of 16 trials. PRE herbicides were applied in January according to the region’s typical winter orchard management practices. One treatment included an additional sequential application in March to extend residual activity later into the warm season when threespike goosegrass germinates or resumes growth. In separate studies, POST control of established stands of threespike goosegrass was evaluated in May and June of each year. Each trial was conducted in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Threespike goosegrass control was visually estimated monthly for 5 months after the PRE treatments or at weekly intervals for 5 weeks following POST treatments. The most effective PRE treatment was a sequential application of indaziflam in January, followed by a March application of pendimethalin, providing 90% or greater control of threespike goosegrass 5 months after treatment across all sites and all years. Of the POST treatments, the three graminicides outperformed the other treatments with 73% to 91% control overall sites and years at 5 weeks after treatment. Fluazifop had the highest control ratings (85% to 91%) among the graminicide herbicides but was not always statistically better than clethodim or sethoxydim (74% to 83% control). Glyphosate alone resulted in unacceptable control (33% to 51%) regardless of rates tested, experimental sites, or years. Together, these results confirm grower reports of poor glyphosate performance on threespike goosegrass but suggest that effective herbicide programs can be developed to manage threespike goosegrass using PRE herbicides and POST graminicides registered in California orchard crops.