Herbicides currently registered for use near water have been ineffective for control of perennial pepperweed. Previous research has demonstrated that mowing followed by an application of glyphosate at 3.33 kg ae ha−1 to resprouting tissue can enhance the control of perennial pepperweed. The objectives of this study were to determine the mechanism(s) responsible for the enhanced effectiveness of glyphosate in combination with mowing. Mowing plants altered the leaf area distribution within the canopy. In mowed areas, the majority of leaf area was in the basal third of the canopy, whereas the bulk of the leaf area was in the top third of the canopy in unmowed plots. This change in plant architecture affected the deposition pattern of the spray solution. Unmowed plants retained 49 to 98% and 42 to 83% of a dye solution within the middle and top thirds of the canopy at the Colusa and Woodland sites, respectively, with only 1.9 to 6.0% dye deposited on the basal third of the canopy at both sites. In contrast, mowed plants had 18 to 34% and 26 to 70% of the dye retained in the basal third of the canopy at the Colusa and Woodland sites, respectively. Greenhouse studies showed that 14C-glyphosate applied to basal leaves of mowed plants translocated significantly more to belowground tissue. Unmowed plants accumulated 0.37% of the applied 14C-glyphosate in belowground tissue 48 h after labeling. In contrast, mowed plants accumulated 6.7% 14C-glyphosate in the belowground tissue. In field studies, estimates of basipetal seasonal translocation rates using total nonstructural carbohydrate pools of roots indicate that mowing did not change the translocation rate. However, the delay in application timing to allow plants to resprout appeared to synchronize applications with maximal translocation of carbohydrates to belowground structures. We hypothesize that the change in the canopy structure of perennial pepperweed after mowing results in fewer aboveground sinks and greater deposition of herbicide to basal leaves where it can preferentially be translocated to the root system. Furthermore, the delay between mowing and resprouting synchronized maximal belowground translocation rates with herbicide application timing. These factors all appear to be involved in the observed enhanced control of perennial pepperweed when combining mowing and glyphosate.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; perennial pepperweed, Lepidium latifolium L. LEPLA.