An experiment was conducted at two locations in 2003 and 2004 to determine the timing and rate of thifensulfuron that is safe to use on sweetpotato. Thifensulfuron was applied 1, 2, and 4 wk after transplanting (WAP) in 2003 and 4, 6, and 8 WAP in 2004. Within each timing, thifensulfuron treatments were 1.1, 2.1, 3.2, 4.3, and 8.5 g ai/ha plus a weed-free control. The 1 and 2 WAP timings of thifensulfuron reduced the yield of number 1 roots greater than 25%. The 4, 6, and 8 WAP timings had less than 15% reduction in yield, with the 6 WAP timing reducing number 1 roots and total yield 10% or less. When 4.3 g/ha of thifensulfuron was applied 4 WAP, total yield was reduced 13%. The 6 and 8 WAP timings had little yield reduction, with no rate response observed. Application of 4.3 g/ha of thifensulfuron at 6 WAP would allow for control of problematic weed species while limiting potential yield loss. Yield loss from a 4 WAP application of thifensulfuron may in fact be a delay in crop maturity that could be recovered if the sweetpotato harvest was delayed to allow for the optimal amount of number 1 grade roots to be produced.
Nomenclature: Thifensulfuron; sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.