The effect of water stress, nitrogen and gibberellic acid on the phytotoxicity of post-emergent herbicides to Avena spp.
A series of experiments was carried out on cultivated oat (Avena sativa L. cv Amuri) to examine the efficacies of fluazifop-butyl and glyphosate against water stressed plants, plants grown in low and high nitrogen and plants treated with gibberellic acid (GA₃). Avena sativa L. was used as a test plant and on completion of the experiments, further studies were carried out on the weed species wild oat (Avena fatua L.). In the laboratory, plants maintained at wilting point for five days before and nine days after spraying and treated with fluazifop-butyl (0.5 kg a.i./ha) appeared healthy 32 days after herbicide application, while plants supplied with water throughout the experiment were completely chlorotic/necrotic and had main stem detachment from within the leaf sheaths. In the field, plants maintained unirrigated until 14 days after spraying with fluazifop-butyl (0.25 kg a.i./ha) or glyphosate (0.18 kg a.i./ha) showed greater tolerance to the herbicides than plants irrigated regularly. Values for seed head yield for water stressed and irrigated plants, 45 days after applying fluazifop-butyl, were 66 g and zero g dryweight/m² respectively. Comparable values for glyphosate treated plants were 65 g and 25 g dryweight/m². Radiolabel studies indicated that in comparision with well watered plants, water stressed plants absorbed 20% less applied ¹⁴C-glyphosate. In addition, the proportion of absorbed ¹⁴C-glyphosate translocated from the treated leaf was 15% less under water stress conditions. Uptake of ¹⁴C-fluazifop-butyl was similar under well watered and water stress conditions and was 30-40% of that applied. The proportion of absorbed ¹⁴C-activity which was transported was very low, but was greater under well watered conditions (7.6%) than under water stress conditions (4.4%). Under well watered conditions in the laboratory and field, fluazifop-butyl (0.25 kg a.i./ha) and glyphosate (0.18 kg a.i./ha) were less toxic at low nitrogen than high nitrogen. For example, 34 days after spraying with fluazifop-butyl under laboratory conditions total plant dry weight was 1.51 g and 0.56 g at 1.0 mol/m³ and 10 mol/m³ applied nitrate respectively. As with soil water content, soil nitrogen content had no effect on uptake of fluazifop-butyl. However, the proportion of absorbed fluazifop-butyl which was translocated out of the treated lamina was greater under high nitrogen conditions (26.1 %) than under low nitrogen conditions (9.3%). Under laboratory conditions, addition of 200 µg GA₃to the leaf sheaths two days prior to spraying with fluazifop-butyl or glyphosate increased the efficacy of both herbicides at low nitrogen. Similarly, under field conditions application of GA₃ (0.21 kg/ha) two days prior to spraying with glyphosate increased the performance of the herbicide against Avena sativa L. growing in a nitrogen depleted soil. At harvest, seed head yield for GA₃ treated and non-treated plants was zero and 7.4 g dry weight/m² respectively. Experiments with Avena latua L. showed that this species was tolerant of fluazifop-butyl and glyphosate when grown in low water or low nitrogen conditions. Under water stress conditions, pre-treatment with GA₃ increased the phytotoxicity of fluazifop-butyl to Avena latua L. Similarily, GA₃ enhanced the phytotoxicity of glyphosate to Avena latua L. grown under low nitrogen conditions. Reduced performance of fluazifop-butyl under stress conditions involves a reduction in translocation of herbicide to meristems, but other factors are likely to be involved. It was concluded that for glyphosate, reductions in uptake and translocation of the herbicide are important factors causing reduced performance of this herbicide under stress conditions. Possible reasons for GA₃ enhancement of fluazifop-butyl and glyphosate activity under stress conditions are discussed and the potential of growth regulators as adjuvants is considered.... [Show full abstract]