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Giovanni A. Caputo, Phillip A. Wadl, Lambert McCarty, Jeff Adelberg, Katherine M. Jennings, and Matthew Cutulle

Weed competition is a main factor limiting sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] production. Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus L.) is a problematic weed to control due to its ability to quickly infest a field and generate high numbers of tubes and shoots. Compounding this is the lack of a registered herbicide for selective postemergence control of yellow nutsedge. Research was conducted to evaluate the bentazon dose response of two sweetpotato cultivars and one advanced clone and to evaluate the plant hormone melatonin to determine its ability to safen bentazon post emergence. Bioassays using Murashige and Skoog (MS) media supplemented with melatonin (0.232 g a.i./L and 0.023 g a.i./L) and bentazon (0.24 g a.i./L) were conducted to evaluate the effect of bentazon on sweetpotato and to determine the interactive response of the Beauregard cultivar to bentazon and exogenous applications of melatonin. Beauregard swas the most tolerant cultivar and required dosages of bentazon that were two-times higher to cause the same injury compared with other cultivars. MS media containing melatonin and bentazon showed fewer injuries and higher plant mass than plants treated with bentazon alone. These results indicate that sweetpotato injury caused by bentazon may be reduced by melatonin.