Herbicide options for burndown of existing weeds prior to planting of no-till wheat include glyphosate, Gramoxone, Sharpen, and dicamba. Among these, the combination of glyphosate and Sharpen probably provides the best combination of efficacy on marestail, flexibility in application timing and residual control.
Dicamba labels have the following restriction on preplant applications – “allow 10 days between application and planting for each 0.25 lb ai/A used”. A rate of 0.5 lb ai/A would therefore need to be applied at least 20 days before planting. We do not know of any 2,4-D product labels that support the use of 2,4-D prior to or at the time wheat planting. There is some risk of stand reduction and injury to wheat from applications of 2,4-D too close to the time of planting.
Liberty and other glufosinate products are also not labeled for use as a burndown treatment for wheat. Sharpen should provide limited residual control of winter annuals that emerge after herbicide application, and the rate can be increased from 1 to 2 oz/A to improve the length of residual.
Gramoxone should also effectively control small seedlings of marestail and other winter annuals. Be sure to use the appropriate adjuvants with any of these, and increase spray volume to 15 to 20 gpa to ensure adequate coverage with Sharpen or Gramoxone.
There are several effective postemergence herbicide treatments for wheat that can be applied in November to control these weeds, in fields where preplant burndown treatments are not used. The most effective postemergence treatments include Huskie, Quelex, or mixtures of dicamba with either Peak, tribenuron (Express etc), or a tribenuron/thifensulfuron premix (Harmony Xtra etc). We discourage application of 2,4-D to emerged wheat in the fall due to the risk of injury and yield reduction.