Early Palmer Amaranth ID Reduces Yield Loss

Identifying Palmer amaranth is a test or phone app away.

Published on: Jun 11, 2013

Is it waterhemp or Palmer amaranth? Though identification can be difficult, University of Illinois associate professor of weed science Aaron Hager said early and accurate identification of Palmer amaranth plants coupled with implementation of an integrated management program are essential to reduce the potential for crop yield loss due to interference of this broadleaf weed. 

Accurate identification of weedy Amaranthus species during early vegetative stages can be difficult because many look very much alike, Hager explained. "During the 1990s, waterhemp provided an excellent example of how difficult it can be to differentiate among the various Amaranthus species, especially when plants are small," he added. 

Accurate identification of weedy Amaranthus species during early vegetative stages can be difficult because many look very much alike. The University of Missouri developed an app to help farmers and crop consultants identify weeds like Palmer amaranth.
Accurate identification of weedy Amaranthus species during early vegetative stages can be difficult because many look very much alike. The University of Missouri developed an app to help farmers and crop consultants identify weeds like Palmer amaranth.

Targeted testing

To assist weed management practitioners in accurately identifying Palmer amaranth, Hager said researchers in the U of I crop sciences department will accept tissue samples from suspected Palmer amaranth plants and use tools of molecular biology to identify whether the sample is Palmer amaranth or another species of Amaranthus.

Information on how to collect and submit tissue samples from suspected Palmer amaranth plants is described on the Palmer amaranth identification form. Download the form, provide as much information as possible, and submit it along with the tissue samples to the address listed at the top of the form.

App for that

"Proper management of Palmer amaranth populations can help reduce the potential for seed production that will augment the soil seedbank and perpetuate the population in future growing seasons," he said. 

Proper identification of weeds is important so that you choose an appropriate and cost-effective method of control, according to Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri Extension weed specialist. The University of Missouri developed an app to help farmers and crop consultants identify weeds like Palmer amaranth.

The app, ID Weeds, is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad running iOS 5.1 or later, and devices running Android 2.2 or later. It is free to download ad available for the iPhone at itunes or for Android users at Google play. There is also a web version available here.

Here is information to help you with the mobile phone download:

To download:

*iPhone and other iOS devices.

*Android: Search for "ID Weeds".

Sources: University of Illinois and University of Missouri