We hear a lot of questions about applying herbicides during warm weather. Crops are currently battling with summer annuals like waterhemp, which emerge, grow and thrive in hot conditions and are naturally drought tolerant. The optimum temperature for photosynthesis in waterhemp ranges from 68 -104°F, so these weeds are thriving even with these warm temperatures.
Here are some quick tips on making sure your applications are still effective in the heat.
Applying translocated herbicides, including Roundup® brand herbicides, in hot, dry conditions can result in delayed or reduced weed control. That’s because plants conserve water through changes in both the composition and thickness of the cuticle on the leaf surface when weather is hot and dry, which can create a barrier to herbicide absorption. Plus, herbicide movement within the plant may be reduced due to a slower rate of translocation and metabolism.
Using the full rate is particularly important when hard water is a concern. The AMS will aid in maximizing the availability of Roundup® brand herbicides for uptake by target weeds.
Adding a surfactant, as allowed per label directions with Roundup® brand herbicides, can be a good way to counter the effects of warm weather, particularly when dealing with thick-cuticle weeds like lambsquarters.
The activity of contact herbicides is increased on all plants at higher temperatures, so the weeds will be more susceptible to those treatments when it’s hot. Increased activity may provide improved weed control, but can also result in greater crop injury potential.
Contact herbicides that contain PPO-inhibiting herbicides need to be used with caution as temperatures increase to 85 degrees and above. If the temperature is over 90°F and weed size allows, consider postponing PPO-inhibiting applications to reduce the risk of crop injury. PPO-inhibiting herbicides are most effective when applied on weeds that are 4 inches tall or less.
Not all PPO-inhibiting herbicides cause the same amount of crop response, so if crop response is a concern, consider adding a surfactant like Methylated Seed Oil (MSO) and/or Crop Oil Concentrate (COC) to your tank-mix when spraying in warm weather.
While the tips above will help ensure your chemical applications are still effective even in soaring temperatures, it's important to make sure you're not only using the right chemicals but that you're also spraying properly. Get tips from the experts at FBN in our free guide, Spraying Tips for the DIY Farmer.
In the guide, you'll learn:
Four key steps to a successful spray
Tips for effectively limiting spray drift
Jar test best practices for tank mix compatibility
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