Greenhouse and laboratory experiments were conducted to evaluate the tolerance of four commercial sugarbeet varieties to s-metolachlor and dimethenamid-P, determine the principle site of absorption of these herbicides, and determine the physiological basis for differential tolerance among varieties to these herbicides. ‘Beta 5833R’ was the most tolerant sugarbeet variety, and ‘Hilleshog 7172RZ’ was the most susceptible sugarbeet variety to injury from s-metolachlor and dimethenamid-P. The primary site of s-metolachlor and dimethenamid-P absorption was through the sugarbeet roots; however, some absorption occurred through the sugarbeet hypocotyl. Sugarbeet injury was greater from dimethenamid-P than s-metolachlor when sugarbeet was grown in soil. However, when sugarbeet was grown hydroponically, injury from the herbicides was similar, indicating that the relative availability of these herbicides in the soil greatly influenced sugarbeet injury. Reduced translocation and slower metabolism of 14C-dimethenamid-P in both the roots and shoots of the sugarbeet plants most likely contributed to the greater susceptibility of sugarbeet to dimethenamid-P compared with s-metolachlor. Metabolism of 14C-herbicides in sugarbeet shoots was 0.7 to 2.1 h slower in the more susceptible sugarbeet varieties compared with the more tolerant variety, Beta 5833R. This was the most significant factor contributing to differences in sugarbeet variety tolerance to both s-metolachlor and dimethenamid-P.
Nomenclature: s-Metolachlor; dimethenamid-P; sugarbeet, Beta vulgaris L.