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Fluazifop-p-butyl herbicide: Implications for germination, emergence and growth of Australian plant species

Rokich, D.P., Harma, J., Turner, S.R., Sadler, R.J. and Tan, B.H. (2009) Fluazifop-p-butyl herbicide: Implications for germination, emergence and growth of Australian plant species. Biological Conservation, 142 (4). pp. 850-869.

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Five experiments were implemented to collect information related to the effects of fluazifop-p-butyl (active chemical in grass selective herbicides, Fusilade® and Fusilade Forte™) on seed germination, seedling emergence, growth and health of species native to southwest Australia (a grass and non-grasses), together with several co-occurring introduced species (grasses and a non-grass). Experiments investigated effects of herbicide concentrations, seed burial depths, seed-sowing times since herbicide application and application locations (foliage versus soil). Both herbicides, at half to quadruple strength of recommended field application concentrations, adversely affected development of native and introduced species, both grasses and non-grasses. Herbicidal effects were observed during the seed germination phase, and if germination had occurred, during seedling emergence and, finally, during plant establishment. However, effects were more pronounced after seed germination, particularly on development of seedlings and plants, with retardation and/or discoloration of either radicles or shoots. Not unexpectedly, seedlings from seeds buried deeper in the sand medium (20 mm) struggled to emerge. Both herbicides demonstrated residual characteristics by impeding seedling emergence and growth from seeds sown at various dates (up to maximum test duration of 3 weeks) following exposure of the sand medium to the herbicides. Further, herbicide application to sand only, produced effects on 5-6 months old plants that were similar as application to foliage only, demonstrating herbicide uptake from sand. While the findings support independent research, they contradict the purported herbicide characteristics by commercial sources - grass selective, post-emergent, non-residual, rapid breakdown and active through foliar application only. Implications of these herbicides for biodiversity conservation are discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: Crown Copyright © 2008.
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