Cultural tactics for managing glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth on turnrows and/or ditchbanks include planting turnrows in the same crop as the adjacent field or establishing perennial grasses. Once the crop plant or perennial grass becomes established, these will compete with glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth and reduce growth and seed production. Establishing a perennial grass such as bermudagrass is often difficult because most turnrows and ditchbanks are sprayed with glyphosate during normal weed control activities.

Many growers prefer to chemically control glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth on turnrows and ditchbanks, but the legality of these herbicide applications is often unclear. Most herbicide labels restrict application to water, but they do not always specify whether application to a ditch with no water is allowed. Some labels, such as dicamba (Clarity) and triclopyr (Garlon, Remedy), specifically address applications to “non-crop” areas. However, “non-crop” area is not clearly defined on most labels.

Although the true definition of a turnrow is vague as it relates to herbicide applications and ditches fall into a number of categories — drainage, irrigation, non-flowing — some points are clear about herbicide applications to turnrows and ditchbanks.

Gramoxone SL is not labeled for application to ditches.

Glufosinate, when applied as Liberty 280 SL, is not labeled for application outside of crop fields. However, glufosinate as Rely 280 may be applied to “farmsteads,” which the herbicide label defines as “non-crop areas around farmstead buildings, shelter belts, along fences, and general nonselective farmstead weed control.”

Although dicamba and triclopyr are labeled for some turnrow and/or ditchbank applications, most crop species are sensitive to these herbicides.

Diquat (1 to 2 quarts per acre), which is a group 22 herbicides similar to Gramoxone SL, is labeled for application to non-crop areas as well as non-flooded ditches.

Direx may be applied to uncultivated agriculture areas at a rate of 4 to 12 quarts per acre. Although Diquat has not been tested extensively for efficacy against glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, it is a non-selective, contact herbicide, so it should at least be effective on small glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth.

The combination of Diquat and Direx should control small, emerged glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth and provide residual control if the application receives rainfall for incorporation.

Controlling glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth on turnrows and ditchbanks has become a critical component to weed control. Unfortunately, not all the concepts related to the herbicide applications in these areas are clearly defined, so caution should be exercised before the herbicides are applied to turnrows and/or ditchbanks.

When deciding to spray a turnrow, the herbicide label and manufacturer should be consulted to determine if the application is legal.

Local drainage districts or state plant boards should be contacted before utilizing a herbicide to control glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth on ditchbanks.