New Technique For Palmer Amaranth Control

amanda huber
Amanda Huber,
Peanut Grower Editor

The Weed Science Society of America routinely surveys leaders in weed science to identify important weed research topics for the next five to 10 years. You can read the article on page 16, but what the survey found is that different skills will be needed to combat weeds in the future.

Then I came across an interesting article that proves this point. The article was about research on a sterilization technique commonly used to control insect pests that was modified to control weeds that require pollination to reproduce. More specifically, the researchers determined that employing a sterile pollen technique could effectively disrupt Palmer amaranth reproduction.

This certainly got my attention since Palmer amaranth, which is resistant now to several herbicide groups, is a serious challenge to control. Researchers in this study were able to find a promising new control method for Palmer amaranth and possibly for many other difficult-to-control weeds.

According to Mohsen B. Mesgaran, plant sciences assistant professor at the University of California Davis and researcher on the project, using irradiated pollen can be a valuable approach for reducing weed-seed production, and the sterile pollen technique holds potential for broad-spectrum weed control by mixing sterile pollen from multiple weed species in a single application. They also found this technique shows promise for managing troublesome herbicide-resistant weeds that have survived in-season control efforts.

Research into this method is ongoing, but it could be that this novel approach may be the answer into management of herbicide-resistant weeds in the future.

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