It finally looks like this long winter is coming to a close!  I hope we can start putting out burndown applications in the next week to 10 days. We are well behind the burndown pace of most Tennessee springs where at least some would have burndown applications applied by this time.  However, this was not a typical winter and as such we are not behind with respect to weed maturity.

The cold winter Tennessee experienced to date is similar to what occurred last winter where we saw a unusually high mortality rate for the fall germinated horseweed (marestail).  In walking a few fields it appears this is the case this spring as well.  The bulk of the horseweed we will have to manage will be spring germinated.  New horseweed germination will likely start next week and could run into May like last year.   Below are some of my thoughts on burndown strategies.

Dicamba has been the standard go to herbicide for marestail (horseweed) burndown for over a decade now. It still is widely used though most are utilizing higher rates in recent years to get consistent horseweed control. Another good option is to tankmix it with a Sharpen product (see below) which has given us more consistent control of horseweed and does help from a resistance management perspective.

The herbicide 2,4-D can be about as effective as dicamba on horseweed provided the rate is high enough.  When applied alone or with glyphosate, I have never had consistent control of horseweed with rates of 2,4-D less than 32 oz/A (1lb ai/A).  Even with this rate if the horseweed was well established from the previous fall, control can be somewhat inconsistent.   Tankmixtures of 1 oz/A of Sharpen with a pint of 2,4-D in soybean can be a more consistent option for established horseweed. The plant back to soybean from a 2,4-D application is 7 days at the 16 oz/A rate and 15 days for 32 oz/A. The plant back to cotton regardless of rate is 30 days. Latigo which is a premix of dicamba and 2,4-D has also been an effective burndown option for horseweed in our research.

Sharpen and the premix of Sharpen and Outlook (Verdict) can be effective horseweed burndown options. Utilized in a tankmix with glyphosate we have found horseweed control with Verdict, which is a EC formulation, to be a little more consistent across environments than Sharpen which is a SC formulation.

Verdict always seems like it is in tight supply.  If that is the case a three way premix of glyphosate plus Sharpen with 4 oz of dicamba or 1 pt of 2,4-D has been as effective as Verdict.  In fact that three way  tank-mix in our research has been the most consistent control option for horseweed. Please be mindful of the plant back to soybean (7 days 2,4-D, 14 days dicamba) with these treatments.

Gramoxone (paraquat) can also be utilized as an early pre plant burndown for horseweed.  However, in our research utilized alone in an early burndown situation, it has proven to be more inconsistent than the options listed above.  I really like it applied right behind the planter to help finish off any horseweed that may be recovering from the early burndown and to make sure no Palmer amaranth is emerged before the crop.  Gramoxone control of horseweed and pigweed can be improved if tankmixed with metribuzin in soybeans and Cotoran and/or Caparol before cotton.

Though Liberty can be an effective burndown option for horseweed, I would not recommend it for two reasons.  First under cool spring conditions Liberty will not provide good horseweed control.  Second, the options listed above would be much more economical.