Out in the cold: Frost and post-emergent herbicide application - Elders Rural Services

Out in the cold: Frost and post-emergent herbicide application

Temperatures are continuing to drop across the state and frost events are imminent.

Elders agronomist Logan Smith, who services the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia, explains the risks and considerations for post-emergent herbicide applications.

During frost events or periods of extreme cold, moisture in the cells of the leaves, stems and shoots can freeze, causing tissue death. This means plants can’t carry out their basic functions and are not considered to be ‘actively growing’. It’s only when they thaw out that they are once again growing and are stress free.

Herbicide sprayed during these conditions is not likely to be taken up by the target weeds, significantly reducing the chemical’s efficacy. As stipulated on many herbicide labels, applications should only be made to ‘actively growing’ plants to ensure efficacy.

The severity and length of the frost will also have an impact on application timing. The general rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours before frost, 24 hours after a frost and 48 hours following two consecutive events. If an application is made during these conditions, then results are expected to vary.

Particular care should be taken when spraying populations that are considered or known to be susceptible to certain groups of herbicides. Such an example is Clethodim, which is a grass-selective herbicide belonging to the group A’s (inhibitors of acetyl co-enzyme A carboxylase) used for controlling and suppressing annual ryegrass. It’s advised when using this product to only apply to small ryegrass plants that are planted in good growing conditions.

Incorrect use of herbicides can increase the level of resistance which can influence future management and business decisions.

Elders offers a range of crop protection products.

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For more information about protecting your crop from frost contact your local Elders agronomist.

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The information contained in this article is given for the purpose of providing general information only, and while Elders has exercised reasonable care, skill and diligence in its preparation, many factors (including environmental and seasonal) can impact its accuracy and currency. Accordingly, the information should not be relied upon under any circumstances and Elders assumes no liability for any loss consequently suffered. If you would like to speak to someone for tailored advice relating to any of the matters referred to in this article, please contact Elders.