Date of this Version
Scientific Reports (2020) 10:2146
While the introduction of herbicide tolerant crops provided growers new options to manage weeds, the widespread adoption of these herbicides increased the risk for herbicide spray drift to surrounding vegetation. The impact of herbicide drift in sensitive crops is extensively investigated, whereas scarce information is available on the consequences of herbicide drift in non-target plants. Weeds are often abundant in field margins and ditches surrounding agricultural landscapes. Repeated herbicide drift exposure to weeds could be detrimental to long-term management as numerous weeds evolved herbicide resistance following recurrent-selection with low herbicide rates. The objective of this study was to evaluate if glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba spray drift could select Amaranthus spp. biotypes with reduced herbicide sensitivity. Palmer amaranth and waterhemp populations were recurrently exposed to herbicide drift in a wind tunnel study over two generations. Seeds from survival plants were used for the subsequent rounds of herbicide drift exposure. Progenies were subjected to herbicide dose-response studies following drift selection. Herbicide drift exposure rapidly selected for Amaranthus spp. biotypes with reduced herbicide sensitivity over two generations. Weed management programs should consider strategies to mitigate near-field spray drift and suppress the establishment of resistance-prone weeds on field borders and ditches in agricultural landscapes.