Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Dodds, Darrin M.

Committee Member

Catchot, Angus L. Jr.

Committee Member

Reynolds, Daniel B.

Committee Member

Peterson, Daniel G.

Committee Member

Mills, J. Anthony; Bond, Jason A.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Plant and Soil Sciences (Weed Science)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Plant and Soil Sciences


The continued spread of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats.) throughout the southern and midwestern United States is a result of herbicide-resistant populations. Besides being the most troublesome weed specie in several agronomic crops, Palmer amaranth is also host to economically important pests such as tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris Palisot de Beauvois). Pesticide application methodology that maximizes efficacy while reducing selection pressure is needed to combat herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth. Pulse width modulation (PWM) sprayers are used for pesticide application with the goal of maintaining product efficacy while mitigating spray drift. Additionally, alternative off-season weed management practices such as flooding could be adopted to optimize soil seedbank depletion. Therefore, evaluation of spray droplet size and flooding period on Palmer amaranth control and seed germination was conducted. The objectives of this research were to: (1) evaluate the influence of spray droplet size on lactofen and acifluorfen efficacy on Palmer amaranth using a PWM sprayer, (2) develop prediction models to determine spray droplet size that provides the greatest level of Palmer amaranth control, (3) evaluate the impact of flooding period and seed burial depth on Palmer amaranth seed germination in different soil textures, and (4) analyze the impact of nitrogen fertilizer application rate on the attractiveness of Palmer amaranth to tarnished plant bug. Results show that spray droplet size does not affect lactofen efficacy on Palmer amaranth, thus, coarser spray droplets are recommended to increase spray drift mitigation efforts. In contrast, acifluorfen applied with 300 μm (medium) spray droplets provided the greatest Palmer amaranth control. Furthermore, prediction models indicated that greater model accuracy was obtained when adopting a location-specific weed management approach. Flooding periods of 3, 4, and 5 months reduced Palmer amaranth seed germination across burial depths and soil textures. Therefore, fall-winter flooding may be adopted as an effective practice for soil seedbank depletion. Results also demonstrated that nitrogen fertilizer application rate does not consistently impact Palmer amaranth attractiveness to tarnished plant bug.