Glyphosate-based, ready-to-use weed control products often contain pelargonic acid (PA) at a concentration equivalent to that of the glyphosate. It remains unclear what benefit, if any, this combination provides. Greenhouse experiments using large crabgrass, yellow nutsedge, longstalked phyllanthus, and prostrate spurge were conducted to determine whether the addition of PA improved weed control efficacy compared to glyphosate alone. Glyphosate was applied at a series of rates, ranging from 0.11 to 1.12 kg ae/ha, either alone or with an equal rate of PA. Addition of PA to glyphosate was synergistic only in longstalked phyllanthus and yellow nutsedge, and this synergism was manifested only as an increase in the amount of early (i.e., 5 to 7 d after treatment) visual injury. Conversely, longer-term control and control of regrowth was either not affected or reduced by the addition of PA. We conclude that the addition of PA to glyphosate in ready-to-use weed control products is neither warranted nor justified. However, we also note that the increase in early injury that was observed in only two of the four species evaluated could be an important attribute for the consumers for which these products are targeted.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; pelargonic acid; large crabgrass, Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scoop DIGSA; longstalked phyllanthus, Phyllanthus tenellus Roxb.; prostrate spurge, Chamaesyce masculata (L.) Small EPHPT; yellow nutsedge, Cyperus esculentus L. CYPES.