Weeds persist and cause economic losses in agricultural systems because they exploit underused portions of that system. Reducing the effect of weeds on agroecosystems begins with minimizing the number of propagules (e.g., seeds and tubers) that are produced and returned to the soil. Purple nutsedge is a problematic weed around the globe, persisting between growing seasons as tubers in the soil. Halosulfuron is an effective herbicide for controlling purple nutsedge foliage and is used in corn and several vegetable crops. Studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of various rates of halosulfuron on purple nutsedge tuber production. Single, presprouted purple nutsedge tubers were transplanted into outdoor microplots and treated after 6 wk of growth with six rates of halosulfuron (7 to 208 g ai ha−1) POST with a nontreated control (NTC). All shoots that had emerged at the time of application were marked with plastic rings; this allowed for classification of tubers at exhumation of (1) tubers attached to shoots that had emerged by the time of application, (2) tubers attached to shoots that emerged after application, and (3) tubers without an aerial shoot during the study. Seven weeks after application, the tubers in the microplots were exhumed and tubers were classified, quantified, and their ability to sprout was evaluated. In the NTC, there were 530 total tubers, with a log-logistic regression model describing the tuber population with increasing halosulfuron rate. The rate of halosulfuron that reduced total tuber population 50% (I50) was 8 g ha−1. In the NTC, 200 tubers were attached to shoots that emerged following halosulfuron application, and this class of tubers had an I50 of 19 g ha−1. Viability of tubers with shoots that emerged following halosulfuron application was 28% at the 52 g ha−1 halosulfuron, suggesting the action of the herbicide may have rendered the tuber nonviable after new shoots were produced. The final classification of tubers was those that did not have an aerial shoot during the study. These were tubers in which apical dominance suppressed shoot development or were likely the most-recent tubers to develop. Of the three classes, the tubers without shoots were the most numerous in the NTC, with 294 tubers and an I50 of 1 g ha−1. Halosulfuron is an effective herbicide that not only controls purple nutsedge foliage but also reduces the number of new tubers produced and overall tuber viability. This could be an important component to reduce the long-term population density of the weed.
Nomenclature: Halosulfuron; purple nutsedge, Cyperus rotundus L. CYPRO; corn, Zea mays L. ZEAMX.