Only two spinach herbicides are currently available to producers, and with limited choices in herbicide mode of action (MOA), overuse of the current herbicides can result in dominance of uncontrolled weeds. Therefore, spinach producers need more herbicide options. Trials were conducted in processing spinach to evaluate the crop safety of dimethenamid-p (0.56 kg ai/ha), EPTC (2.94 to 3.40 kg ai/ha), or ethofumesate (0.84, 1.12 or 2.24 kg ai/ha) applied pre-emergent (PRE), and ethofumesate (0.09 or 0.18 kg ai/ha) applied early postemergent (EPOST) for potential use as alternatives to s-metolachlor (0.73 kg ai/ha) and cycloate (2.52 kg ai/ha). The control of London rocket was excellent with s-metolachlor, dimethenamid-p, and ethofumesate. Weed control with cycloate and EPTC was fair, and generally inferior to all others. Cycloate and s-metolachlor were safe to spinach, and only minor crop injury was observed with all other herbicides, except the high rate of ethofumesate PRE, which resulted in high levels of injury. Spinach outgrew all early herbicide injury with no significant yield losses. Ethofumesate applied EPOST caused no injury in year 1, although in year 2 injury was higher in all plots where it was applied twice, regardless of rate. In high-density plantings, dimethenamid-p caused significant crop injury to spinach, but only at one location on a sandy loam soil. In that trial, yields in dimethenamid-p plots were reduced an average 30% compared to the hand-weeded and s-metolachlor plots. As a result of this research, dimethenamid-p, EPTC, and ethofumesate should be considered candidates for expanded-use registrations in processing spinach production. More research is needed to determine additional rates and use patterns for improved crop safety, as well as an evaluation of soil types and spinach varieties.
Nomenclature: Cycloate, dimethenamid-p, EPTC, ethofumesate, s-metolachlor, London rocket, Sisymbrium irio L. SSYIR, spinach, Spinacia oleracea L., ‘DMC 66-09’, ‘Baker’