Much research has evaluated herbicide safety on established bermudagrass turf, but information is lacking on seedling response to herbicides. Three field experiments were conducted in Blacksburg, VA, to assess turfgrass and smooth crabgrass response to selected sulfonylurea herbicides during seedling bermudagrass establishment. Herbicides injured bermudagrass 9 wk after treatment in the following order from most to least injurious: flazasulfuron = trifloxysulfuron > rimsulfuron > metsulfuron = sulfosulfuron > foramsulfuron. Herbicides applied 3 wk after seeding (WAS) were generally more injurious than when applied 1 WAS. Flazasulfuron and trifloxysulfuron-sodium controlled smooth crabgrass greater than 90% at 6 WAS, and metsulfuron and rimsulfuron suppressed smooth crabgrass 76 and 84%, respectively. Foramsulfuron, metsulfuron, and sulfosulfuron appear safe to apply 1 and 3 WAS, causing very little chlorosis and no reduction in turf cover. Rimsulfuron is injurious when applied at those timings; however, long-term cover is not reduced. Flazasulfuron and trifloxysulfuron-sodium are not safe to use 1 and 3 WAS unless weed pressure is extreme, and a delay in bermudagrass cover is acceptable.
Nomenclature: Flazasulfuron; foramsulfuron; metsulfuron; rimsulfuron; sulfosulfuron; trifloxysulfuron-sodium; smooth crabgrass, Digitaria ischaemum (Schreb.) Schreb ex Muhl. DIGIS; bermudagrass, Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. ‘Riviera’.