4 Tips to Plan and Execute a Successful Fall Burndown Program

Laura Holoubek

Aug 22, 2023

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Once you decide to conduct a fall burndown application, you must act quickly. The biggest window of opportunity for effective weed control starts the minute you’ve finished harvesting.  

This post will help you get started with actionable tips to conduct a successful fall burndown program by exploring how to:

[READ: What to Consider When You’re Selecting a Burndown or Pre-emergence Herbicide]

How to Choose the Right Herbicides For Fall Burndown

There are several factors to consider when selecting herbicides for your fall burndown program, including:

  • Weed identification

  • Crop rotation

  • Soil type

  • Plantback restrictions

Weed Identification

Identifying broadleaf or grassy weed species will help categorize their growth habits and life cycles. By tailoring your herbicide choice to target specific species, you’ll reduce weed competition in the upcoming planting season. 

Dicamba and 2,4-D are common choices for targeting broadleaf weeds in herbicide formulations designed for soybeans, corn and cotton. This table identifies some of the weeds these herbicides target:



Canada thistle

Buckhorn plantain














Wild mustard


Wild violet

Consider using glyphosate or clethodim for grassy weed control. While numerous weeds have expressed resistance to glyphosate, it is recommended that another mode of action is used with it. Here are common weeds targeted by glyphosate and clethodim:



Downy Brome




Volunteer oats


Volunteer wheat


Volunteer corn

Wild oats


Yellow nutsedge

Crop Rotation

When rotating crops from season to season, select products that won’t adversely affect the rotation crop and leave harmful residues in the soil. Some residual herbicides like atrazine* are useful if rotating to corn in the spring. With this in mind, consider an herbicide with short residual activity like glyphosate, glufosinate, or paraquat as other options for rotation crops.

Soil Type

Conducting regular soil tests can help you determine your soil’s texture, structure and nutrient levels, enabling you to more effectively address deficiencies that hinder growth and yield. Different soil types can influence herbicide adsorption, movement and efficacy. For example, some sandy soils may require an herbicide with a lower leaching potential that contains atrazine* or metolachlor. In contrast, clay soils may require different application rates to ensure even coverage. 

Plantback Restrictions

Plantback restrictions refer to the time between applying an herbicide and planting a new crop in the same field. Following these restrictions ensures that herbicide residues do not negatively affect germination or growth; ignoring them can result in crop injury and reduced yield potential. 

When choosing your herbicide, always read the label directions carefully to understand its correct use. 

[READ: The Benefits of Fall Burndown]

How to Choose an Adjuvant for Your Tank Mix

Adjuvants improve herbicide performance by increasing efficacy and enhancing spreading, sticking and penetrating abilities. When choosing an adjuvant, consider these four key factors: 

  1. Adjuvant purpose 

  2. Herbicide compatibility

  3. Environmental factors

  4. Weed species and size

1. What’s the Main Purpose of Your Adjuvant? 

Some adjuvants improve herbicide coverage on target weeds, while others enhance herbicide penetration into plant tissues. Prioritizing a specific goal for your adjuvant can help you select the right product to help achieve:

  • Better coverage

  • Increased absorption

  • Improved rainfastness

2. How Compatible Is Your Herbicide?

Be sure to choose an adjuvant that is compatible with the herbicides you plan to use. Many products recommend specific adjuvants directly on their label, while others have very specific restrictions. Always read your label carefully to ensure compatibility with your crops. 

You can always find hundreds of herbicide product labels here.

[WATCH: Understanding Adjuvants to Optimize Crop Protection]

3. Evaluate Environmental Factors

The following environmental conditions can influence adjuvant performance:

  • Temperature

  • Humidity

  • Wind speed

  • Rainfastness


Some adjuvants work better at higher temperatures while others are more effective in cooler temperatures. For example, certain surfactants or oils may cause excessive foaming in cooler weather. 

Temperature also influences the behavior of spray droplets, affecting their size, evaporation rate and deposition on target weeds. Spray droplets may evaporate more quickly in warmer temperatures, potentially reducing the amount of herbicide reaching the target weed. Droplets may take longer to evaporate in cooler temperatures, increasing the potential for herbicide runoff or drift.


Humidity levels can also affect adjuvant performance. High humidity creates favorable growing conditions for weed growth, leading to increased weed vigor and resilience. These conditions also lead to excessive foaming during chemical application, causing uneven herbicide distribution and reduced efficacy. With stronger weed resilience and weakened herbicide efficacy, these higher humidity conditions can lead to problematic application scenarios. Higher humidity will extend dry time which is better for the plant. 

Alternatively, applying herbicides during lower humidity minimizes the risk of excessive foaming.

Wind Speed

Strong winds can cause herbicide drift, damaging neighboring crops and vegetation. To mitigate drift, select an adjuvant with drift-reducing agents (DRAs) or deposition aids which can produce larger droplets. The increased size and weight of the droplets reduce their susceptibility to wind drift. Glyphosate, 2,4-D, and atrazine* all contain DRAs. 


Rainfastness refers to an herbicide’s ability to withstand rainfall after application. The right adjuvant can improve rainfastness by enhancing an herbicide’s ability to adhere to the plant surface. Adjuvants that contain surfactants or sticking agents help the herbicide stick to the leaves, preventing it from being washed away by rain or irrigation. Look for an adjuvant that enhances rainfastness to provide adequate control. 

4. Assess Weed Species and Size 

Weed type and size will also influence your adjuvant choice. For broadleaf weeds, a non-ionic surfactant like IN-Zorb™ 90 can help reduce water's surface tension, improving coverage and absorption. 

A crop oil concentrate (COC) or methylated seed oil (MSO) will be effective for grassy weeds. Crop oil concentrates contain petroleum-based oils and help to improve herbicide penetration into the plant’s cuticle, which is the protective layer on the leaf surface. MSOs, which are derived from vegetable oils,improve absorption and efficacy by penetrating the waxy cuticle like COCs. 

[READ: Adjuvants 101: Understanding the “Extras” in Your Tank]

Designing Your Own Fall Burndown Program

A good foundation for a successful burndown program includes non-selective herbicides, such as glyphosate and glufosinate, and an auxin, such as dicamba or 2,4-D. You may consider other chemistries for your farm depending on your location, cropping plan and the weather in your recent forecast.

Here are a few potential burndown programs worth considering:


Start your corn burndown program with: 



Start your soybean burndown program with:




Start your oats burndown program with:


Start your wheat burndown program with:

[READ: How Long Will Your Residual Herbicide Actually Last?]

Thinking Ahead For Spring Planting 

Starting clean is critical to maximizing production. A successful fall burndown application sets the stage for spring planting by eliminating existing weeds and reducing competition for emerging crops. As you think ahead, you’ll want to consider the pre-emergence herbicides you’ll need for spring planting. 

A pre-emergence herbicide application will provide:

  • Extended weed control

  • Residual control

  • Weed resistance management 

  • Improved crop establishment

  • Flexibility in plant timing 

Find the Right Herbicides for Your Fall Burndown Program

Finding the right herbicides and adjuvants for your burndown program will set you up for success. 

With detailed product labels, transparent pricing, straightforward online ordering and direct-to-farm delivery in three days or less, FBN Direct can help you get the herbicides you need for effective weed control and crop protection. 

U.S. Products for Fall Burndown

For farmers in the U.S., here are some popular products that can be paired as recommended or required based on each product label: 


Pair With


Atrazine 4L Value Pick

IN-Plant or In-Zorb 90

Adjuvant is FBN® Suggested

2,4-D LV6 Value Pick 

Tether 24

An Adjuvant is label recommended.

Willowood Sulfen 4SC

IN-Plant or IN-Plant ADV 

An Adjuvant is label recommended.

Willowood Paraquat 3SL*

IN-Plant or In-Zorb 90

An Adjuvant is label required.

Willowood Clethodim 2EC

IN-Plant or IN-Plant ADV 

An Adjuvant is label required.

Willowood OxyFlo 2EC 


An Adjuvant is label recommended.

Canadian Products for Fall Burndown

For Canadian farmers, here is a list of popular products to help with a fall burndown application:

Written by Norm℠, reviewed and edited by Mark Wilson.

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Laura Holoubek

Aug 22, 2023

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