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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Prepare Wheat Planting with Fall Herbicide Applications

September 6, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio growers preparing for no-tillage winter wheat planting should consider a burndown application of glyphosate to effectively control dandelion and winter annual grasses.

Jeff Stachler, an Ohio State University Extension weed specialist, said that a burndown application of glyphosate before winter wheat emerges is the best method to control winter annual grasses and the only method to control dandelion. A burndown application for no-tillage winter wheat, however, has not always been on the minds of growers.

"It's a different time of year and growers don't think about it as much," said Stachler. "Wheat is usually minimally managed. Growers seed it, fertilize it in the spring and harvest it and don't do much in between. But with weeds becoming more of a consistent problem, those growers looking to maximize their yield must realize that they can no longer manage wheat that way."

The safest and most effective way to manage dandelions and winter annual grasses in wheat fields is with an application of glyphosate, said Stachler. The minimum rate is 0.75 pounds acid equivalent per acre, which equals 22 ounces of Roundup OriginalMAX or 32 ounces of most generic glyphosate formulations.

"Ideally, the glyphosate should be applied just before the wheat emerges. However, that window of application can be too narrow and it may be better to apply the glyphosate before planting," said Stachler.

Stachler said that it's important to treat dandelion and winter annual grasses in the fall, because very few herbicides exist once they start competing with the wheat crop.

"There are no herbicides applied in the fall that can effectively control dandelion after wheat emerges, and there are some herbicides that can be used to control emerging winter annual grasses," said Stachler. "But you have to be careful when using them, as they have a long residual and you can't double-crop soybeans the following year."

Growers should not forget about scouting for a spring herbicide application, even if they apply a fall treatment.

"Growers need to realize that just because they do a burndown in the fall does not mean they will not have to apply herbicides in the spring," said Stachler. "Spring herbicide applications may still be needed for summer annual weeds, such as ragweeds and marestail, or winter annual weeds that emerge in late fall or spring."

As growers prepare for the burndown application in their wheat crop, they should also begin thinking about fall treatments after corn and soybean harvest to control winter annuals, biennials and cool-season perennials.

For more information on preparing for next season's wheat crop, log on to

Candace Pollock
Jeff Stachler