Loretta M. Ortiz-Ribbing, Plant and Earth Science, University of Wisconsin–River Falls 54022;
Kenny R. Glassman, Master's Graduate Student, Department of Biological Sciences, and
Gordon K. Roskamp, School of Agriculture, Western Illinois University, Macomb 61455; and
Steven G. Hallett, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907
Common waterhemp (Amaranthus rudis) and pigweeds (Amaranthus spp.) are troublesome weeds in many cropping systems and have evolved resistance to several herbicides. Field trials to further develop Microsphaeropsis amaranthi and Phomopsis amaranthicola as bioherbicides for control of waterhemp and pigweeds were conducted to test the effectiveness of these organisms in irrigated and nonirrigated pumpkin and soybean plots over 2 years at three locations in western Illinois. The bioherbicide was applied with lecithin and vegetable oil at 187 liters ha–1 in 2008 and 374 liters ha–1 in 2009. Treatments included spore suspensions of M. amaranthi and P. amaranthicola alone, a mixture of both organisms, and sequential treatments of the organisms with halosulfuron-methyl (Sandea Herbicide) in pumpkin or glyphosate (Roundup Original Max Herbicide) in soybean. Bioherbicide effectiveness was estimated at approximately 7 and 14 days after treatment, as disease incidence, disease severity, percent weed control, and weed biomass reduction. Significant reductions in weed biomass occurred in treatments with one or both of the fungal organisms, and potential exists to tank mix M. amaranthi with halosulfuron-methyl. Leaf surface moisture and air temperatures following application may account for inconsistencies in field results between year and locations. These fungal organisms show potential as bioherbicides for weeds in the genus Amaranthus.