The management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth has been a challenge in southern United States cropping systems. Registration of dicamba-resistant crops will provide an alternative management option to control herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth populations, particularly those having resistance to herbicide Groups 2, 3, 5, 9, 14, and 27. However, repeated use of sublethal doses of dicamba may lead to rapid evolution of herbicide resistance, especially in Palmer amaranth—a species with a strong tendency to evolve resistance. Therefore, selection experiments with dicamba were conducted on Palmer amaranth using sublethal doses. In the greenhouse, a known susceptible Palmer amaranth population was subjected to sublethal dicamba doses for three generations (P1–P3). Susceptibility of the individuals to dicamba was evaluated, and its susceptibility to 2,4-D was characterized. Based on the greenhouse study, following three generations of dicamba selection, the dose required to cause 50% mortality increased from 111 g ae ha−1 for parental individuals (P0) to 309 g ae ha−1 for the P3. Furthermore, reduced susceptibility of the P3 to 2,4-D was also evident. This research presents the first evidence that recurrent use of sublethal dicamba doses can lead to reduced susceptibility of Palmer amaranth to dicamba as well as 2,4-D. Here, we show that selection from sublethal dicamba doses has an important role in rapid evolution of Palmer amaranth with reduced susceptibility to auxin-type herbicides.
Nomenclature: 2,4-D, dicamba, Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats.