Circadian response of annual weeds in a natural setting to high and low application rates of four herbicides with different modes of action

Ryan P Miller, Krishona L Martinson, Robert B. Sothern, Bev R Durgan, Jeffrey L Gunsolus

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18 Scopus citations


Four herbicides [glyphosate (GLYT), an amino acid synthesis inhibitor; glufosinate (GLUF), a glutamine synthetase inhibitor; fomesafen (FOME), a protoporphyrinogen oxidase inhibitor; and chlorimuron ethyl (CLIM), an acetolactate synthase inhibitor] were used to examine the influence of time of day of application on the control of a variety of annual broadleaf weeds in field studies conducted in Minnesota (five studies on GLYT and GLUF, three studies on FOME and CLIM). All herbicides were applied with an adjuvant at recommended high and low (half or quarter strength) rates every 3h between 06:00 and 24:00h local time. Visual ratings of percent weed control evaluated at 14d were analyzed by herbicide and application rate for each study and across studies for time-of-day effect by analysis of variance (ANOVA) and single cosinor. A circadian response to each herbicide was found, with greatest weed control observed between 09:00 and 18:00h. Increasing the herbicide application rate did not overcome the time-of-day effect (ANOVA: p ≤ 0.008 for time-of-day effect for each herbicide and application rate). The least-squares fit of a 24h cosine was significant (p ≤ 0.001) for each herbicide and application rate, with double amplitudes of 18-82% (units = % visual control) and estimated peaks (acrophases) near midday between 12:40 and 13:35h. Analysis of residuals obtained from multiple regression that included weed height, herbicide rate, temperature, and relative humidity as independent factors also found a significant time-effect by both ANOVA and cosinor for each herbicide and rate, with acrophases advancing significantly by 3 to 7h for GLYT and GLUF, but not for FOME or CLIM. These results suggest that the four herbicides, while belonging to different families with different modes of action, may reveal different peak times of efficacy when adjusting for environmental factors. Nonetheless, each displays similar circadian patterns when influenced by these factors under natural seasonal field conditions. The within-day rhythmic differences found in weed control are large enough to warrant consideration of the practical financial and environmental importance of the time-of-day that these and other herbicides are applied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-324
Number of pages26
JournalChronobiology international
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003


  • Annual weeds
  • Chlorimuron ethyl
  • Chronotoxicity
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Fomesafen
  • Glufosinate
  • Glyphosate
  • Herbicide


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