E. M. Babiker and
S. H. Hulbert, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6430; and
K. L. Schroeder and
T. C. Paulitz, United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Washington State University, Pullman
Rhizoctonia root rot, caused by Rhizoctonia solani AG-8 and R. oryzae, is considered one of the main deterrents for farmers to adopt reduced-tillage systems in the Pacific Northwest. Because of the wide host range of Rhizoctonia spp., herbicide application before planting to control weeds and volunteer plants is the main management strategy for this disease. To determine the effect of timing of glyphosate applications on the severity of Rhizoctonia root rot of barley, field experiments were conducted in 2007, 2008, and 2009 in a field naturally infested with a high level of both R. solani and R. oryzae. Crop volunteer plants and weeds were allowed to grow over the winter and plots were sprayed with glyphosate at 42, 28, 14, 7, and 2 days prior to planting. As the herbicide application interval increased, there were significant increases in shoot length, length of the first true leaf, and number of healthy seminal roots and a decrease in disease severity. Yield and the number of seminal roots did not show a response to herbicide application interval in most years. The activity of R. solani, as measured by toothpick bioassay and real-time polymerase chain reaction, declined over time in all treatments after planting barley. The herbicide application interval required to meet 80 and 90% of the maximum response (asymptote) for all plant and disease measurements ranged from 11 to 27 days and 13 to 37 days, respectively. These times are the minimum herbicide application intervals required to reduce disease severity in the following crop.