Three herbicides were compared for their ability to reduce both carbon fixation and soil water depletion by yellow nutsedge in a growth chamber study. Whole-plant CO2 exchange and water use were measured for 11 d after herbicide application. MSMA reduced carbon assimilation relative to the untreated control 1 d after treatment, and by 5 d after treatment respiration exceeded carbon assimilation during the photoperiod; however, MSMA had no significant effect on whole-plant water use during the measurement period. Halosulfuron reduced gross carbon assimilation to 30% of the pretreatment rate by the end of the experiment, but in contrast to MSMA it also strongly suppressed water use. Mesotrione never reduced carbon assimilation below 59% of the pretreatment rate and had no measurable effect on water use. Halosulfuron and MSMA reduced shoot regrowth to between 0 and 5% of the control, whereas mesotrione treatment allowed some 58% regrowth. These results indicate that whereas both MSMA and halosulfuron should provide effective control of yellow nutsedge, halosulfuron may be better able to rapidly suppress the weed's ability to compete for available soil water.
Nomenclature: Halosulfuron; mesotrione; MSMA; yellow nutsedge, Cyperus esculentus L. CYPES.