Pennsylvania Wheat, Barley: Fall Herbicide Options

Maturing henbit. Photo Steve Dewey, Utah State University,

Maturing henbit. Photo Steve Dewey, Utah State University,

Dense populations of winter annual weeds can compete with wheat and barley in late fall and early spring and slow the rate of crop development potentially reducing yield. If winter annual weeds like common chickweed, henbit, marestail, winter annual grasses, and others emerge with the small grain and are left unchecked, the potential impact on yield could be great.

In these situations, it may make sense to kill these weeds in the fall rather than early spring. Harmony Extra is the most broad spectrum herbicide for broadleaf control, but resistant populations of common chickweed are becoming evident in parts of the state.

In addition, there are several herbicides labeled for grass control in wheat and fall is typically the best time to make an application. Make sure to include the necessary spray adjuvants. Remember that cool (less than 50°F) cloudy days can reduce herbicide activity. 

Also, if you plan to frost-seed or drill a companion crop such as red clover in early spring it may be best to make a fall herbicide application to avoid certain issues with herbicide residuals affecting their establishment. However, even if products such as PowerFlex HL, Osprey, Dimetric, and others are applied in the fall, their recrop restrictions still prevent seeding of certain crops next spring.

The following table summarizes some fall herbicide options for small grains. Check a current herbicide label for the latest use information.

Common Fall Herbicide Options for Small Grains

Herbicide Crops Strengths Growth stage Remarks, if any
2,4-D Wheat, barley, rye, oats Marestail, mustards, dandelion 3–6  
Aim Wheat, barley, oats Star-of-Bethlehem, speedwell 1–5  
Anthem Flex Wheat Annual grasses and broadleaves delayed pre to early post (1-3) Does not control emerged weeds; suppression only of chickweed and marestail
Axial XL Wheat, barley Annual/Italian ryegrass 2–8 No control of ACCase-resistant species
Axiom wheat, triticale Certain annual grasses and several broadleaves

spike-1 (2-leaf)

Clarity/Banvel Wheat, barley Marestail, thistles 3–6  
Dimetric EXT Wheat, barley ALS-resistant chickweed 1–4 Controls other winter annual broadleaves
Harmony Extra Wheat, barley, oats Most broadleaves, garlic 1–7 Will not control ALS-resistant chickweed
Huskie Wheat, barley, triticale Most broadleaves 1–7 Has good activity on marestail
Maestro (Buctril) Wheat, barley, rye Mustards 1–9  
MCPA Wheat, barley, rye Same as 2,4-D


Osprey Wheat, triticale Annual/Italian ryegrass, annual bluegrass 1–5 Controls some broadleaves
Peak Wheat, barley, oats, rye, triticale Mustards, garlic 2–6 Watch recrop restrictions
PowerFlex HL Wheat, triticale Downy brome, cheat, annual/Italian ryegrass

3-leaf to 6

Controls some broadleaves; will not control ALS-resistant chickweed
Prowl H20 Wheat, triticale Annual ryegrass, downy brome, some annual broadleaves 1–7 Apply after small grain emergence but before weeds have emerged
Quelex Wheat, barley, triticale Annual broadleaves 2–8 Watch recrop restrictions
Sharpen Wheat, barley, oats, rye, triticale Annual broadleaves before crop emergence Controls existing marestail
Starane Ultra Wheat, barley Chickweed (including ALS-resistant) 2–9  
Stinger Wheat, barley, oats Thistles 2–9 Watch recrop restrictions
Talinor Wheat, barley Annual broadleaves 2–9 Watch recrop restrictions
Valor SX or EZ


Annual broadleaves 7-days early preplant Improves marestail control; plant wheat at least 1″ deep
Zidua Wheat Annual grasses and broadleaves delayed pre to early post (4 tillers) Does not control emerged weeds; suppression only of chickweed and marestail

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