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Publication #HS198

Weed Management in Sweet Potato1

Peter Dittmar and William Stall2

Sweet potatoes are a long-season crop. Weed control during production can be difficult. Early-season competition from weeds is extremely critical. A major emphasis on control should be made during this period. Growers must plan a total weed control program that integrates mechanical and cultural methods with the use of herbicides.

At the present time, there are only four herbicides that provide preemergence control of weeds in sweet potato. Cultivation is also an effective way to manage weeds early in the season. Rolling cultivators either by themselves or behind hilling blades can uproot many annual weeds that have escaped the herbicide or have emerged since the last cultivation. Cultivation and hilling, while useful, disrupt the efficacy of soil-applied herbicides. Fusilade® may be applied at any time until 55 days of harvest, and Poast® or Select® may be applied up to 30 days of harvest to control emerged grass weeds. These herbicides do not provide preemergence control.

Herbicide performance depends on weather, irrigation, soil type, proper selection for weed species to be controlled, and accurate application and timing (Tables 1 and 2).

Figure 1. 

Palmer amaranth in sweet potato


Credit:

Peter Dittmar


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Tables

Table 1. 

Pretransplant chemical weed control in sweet potato

Active ingredient

lb. a.i./A

(Trade name)

amount of product/A

Weeds controlled / remarks

Carfentrazone

Up to 0.031

(Aim®) 2 EC or 1.9 EW

Up to 2 fl. oz.

Emerged broadleaf weeds. Apply as a preplant burndown. Use crop oil concentrate or nonionic surfactant at recommended rates. May be tank mixed with other herbicides.

Clomazone

0.49–0.75

(Command®) 3 ME

1.3–2.0 pt.

Annual broadleaf and grass weeds. Use lower rates on coarse soils. Apply within 5 days of transplanting.

DCPA

4.5–6

(Dacthal®) W-75

6–8 lb.

(Dacthal®) 6 F

6–8 pt.

Annual broadleaf and grass weeds. Apply immediately after transplanting. May be applied as a layby later in the season for preemergence control.

Flumioxazin

0.096

(Valor®) 51 WDG

3 oz.

Annual broadleaf weeds. Do not use on sweet potato varieties other than 'Beauregard' unless user has tested other varieties and found crop tolerance. Apply 2–5 days before transplant and minimize soil disturbance after application.

Glyphosate

(Various formulations)

Consult label

Emerged broadleaf and grass weeds. Apply as a preplant burndown. Consult label for individual product directions.

Napropamide

1.0–2.0

(Devrinol® DF-XT) 50 DF

2–4 lb.

Annual broadleaf and grass weeds. Apply immediately after transplanting. If rainfall does not occur within 24 hrs. after application, incorporate or irrigate 2–4 inches deep.

Pelargonic acid

(Scythe®) 4.2 EC

3%–10% v/v

Emerged broadleaf and grass weeds. Apply as a preplant burndown treatment. Product is a contact, nonselective, foliar-applied herbicide with no residual control. May be tank mixed with soil residual compounds.

Table 2. 

Posttransplant chemical weed control in sweet potato

Active ingredient

lb. a.i./A

(Trade name)

amount of product/A

Weeds controlled / remarks

Carfentrazone

Up to 0.031

(Aim®) 2 EC or 1.9 EW

Up to 2 oz.

Emerged broadleaf weeds. Apply as hooded application to row middles only. Use crop oil concentrate (COC) or nonionic surfactant (NIS) at recommended rates. Contact with the leaves will cause injury. PHI 0 days.

Clethodim

0.09–0.25

0.07–0.25

(Select®, Arrow®) 2 EC

6–16 fl. oz.

(Select Max®) 1 EC

9–32 fl. oz.

Perennial and annual grass weeds. Use higher rates under heavy grass pressure or larger grass weeds. Do not apply more than 0.5 lb. a.i./A. Use a COC at 1% v/v in the finished spray solution. Select Max® requires an NIS at 0.25% v/v. PHI 30 days.

Fluazifop

0.1–0.25

(Fusilade® DX) 2 EC

6–16 fl. oz.

Perennial and annual grass weeds. Include an NIS at 0.25%–0.5% v/v or COC at 0.5%–1.0% v/v in the spray solution. PHI 55 days.

Pelargonic acid

(Scythe®) 4.2 EC

3%–10% v/v

Emerged broadleaf and grass weeds. Apply as a hooded application to row middles only. Contact with the leaves will cause injury.

Sethoxydim

0.19–0.47

(Poast®) 1.5 EC

1.0–2.5 pt.

Growing grass weeds. A total of 5.0 pt./A applied in one season. Include a COC. Unsatisfactory results may occur if applied to grasses under stress. PHI 30 days.

Footnotes

1.

This document is HS198, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date March 1999. Revised April 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Peter Dittmar, assistant professor, and William Stall, emeritus professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. It is not a guarantee or warranty of the products named, and does not signify that they are approved to the exclusion of others of suitable composition.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.