Controlling Tough Cotton Weed Threats

Controlling cotton weeds helps protect yield.

Controlling cotton weeds has taken a dramatic turn since herbicide-resistant weeds took up residence. As glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth (pigweed) threatens to overtake fields, growers have gone back to older, soil residual chemistry in their weed-control programs.

“In cotton, 90 to 95 percent of my time is spent on Palmer amaranth control,” says Stanley Culpepper, extension weed scientist, University of Georgia. “We’re finally managing it effectively, but it takes a lot of time and money.”

Tom Barber, extension weed scientist, University of Arkansas, also says he spends most of his time on Palmer amaranth control. “We do whatever is necessary to control this difficult pest.”

Diverse Management Recommended

Culpepper and Barber recommend a diverse management program to control difficult cotton weeds.

“For areas heavily infested with resistant Palmer amaranth, growers need an integrated approach that includes as many control tactics as are economically feasible,” Culpepper notes. “An effective herbicide program, cover crop residue, tillage, hand weeding and crop rotation are all important.

“To preserve herbicide effectiveness, growers must rotate herbicide modes of action within each year and across subsequent years, use both residual and postemergence herbicides, and use appropriate herbicide application rates.”

Staple® LX Herbicide Adds Residual Control

While Palmer amaranth has the spotlight, cotton growers face other difficult weeds like morningglory that reduce yield and complicate harvest. DuPont™ Staple® LX herbicide remains an effective control tool against tough broadleaf weeds in Roundup Ready, LibertyLink and conventional cotton programs.

“For non-ALS resistant weeds, such as morningglory, prickly sida and spurred anoda, Staple® LX applied over the top provides effective residual control,” says Barber. “Applied from early emergence to the seven-leaf stage, Staple® LX cleans up weed escapes and provides residual activity for long-lasting control.”

“In Georgia, Staple® LX is our only tool for controlling emerged non-ALS resistant Palmer amaranth in Roundup Ready cotton,” adds Culpepper. “While growers must be diligent and make applications when Palmer amaranth is no more than 1 inch tall, Staple® LX provides excellent residual control.

“Staying power is a key benefit with Staple® LX. Even with high temperatures and no rain, Staple® LX remains active in the soil for up to three weeks, providing control after activation.”

Roundup Ready is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC. 
LibertyLink is a registered trademark of Bayer CropScience AG.
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