By Aaron Hager
The volume of inquiries about how to control large (taller than 12 inches) horseweed (a.k.a. marestail) and waterhemp in soybean has remained consistent over the past 10 days.
The answer can be summarized as follows: there are no post-emergence herbicides that will consistently control these very large weeds in soybean, especially if these weeds are resistant to glyphosate.
Glyphosate-resistant waterhemp can be controlled by foliar-applied PPO inhibitors (such as lactofen (Cobra), fomesafen (Flexstar) or acifluorfen (Ultra Blazer)) in conventional or glyphosate-resistant soybean varieties, or by glufosinate (Liberty) in glufosinate-resistant (Liberty Link) soybean varieties.
However, it is very important to remember that these herbicides do not extensively translocate within the weed following their absorption through the leaf surface, and control of large weeds is often not as consistent as control of small (5 inches or less) weeds. Reducing application rates of these herbicides often results in reduced waterhemp control.
In our research, we have observed less control of glyphosate-resistant waterhemp with tankmixes of glyphosate and fluthiacet (Cadet) or 2,4-DB compared with tankmixes of other PPO-inhibiting herbicides. Keep in mind that PPO-resistant waterhemp biotypes are very common, and these biotypes are sometimes also resistant to glyphosate.
The only effective methods to control waterhemp plants resistant to PPO inhibitors and glyphosate include physically (i.e., weed hook or hoe) or mechanically (i.e. cultivate) removing the plants from the field.