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Interaction of the Bioherbicide Myrothecium verrucaria and Glyphosate for Kudzu Control

Clyde Douglas Boyette, Robert E. Hoagland, Mark A. Weaver, Kenneth C. Stetina
American journal of plant sciences 2014 v.5 no.26 pp. 3943-3956
Myrothecium verrucaria, Pueraria montana var. lobata, biopesticides, disease course, field experimentation, fungal spores, fungi, glyphosate, greenhouse experimentation, greenhouses, inoculum, invasive species, mycelium, pesticide formulations, synergism, weed control, Southeastern United States
Kudzu is an exotic invasive weed in the southeastern U.S. that is difficult to control with current commercial herbicides. Some success for its control has been achieved using a bioherbicidal agent, Myrothecium verrucaria (MV). Spore and mycelial formulations of MV were tested alone and in combination with glyphosate for control of kudzu (Pueraria lobata) under greenhouse and field conditions in naturally-infested areas. In greenhouse and field experiments, kudzu control increased as the concentration of spores or mycelia increased. Glyphosate alone provided 10%, 35%, 50% and 60% control in field experiments at 0.25, 0.50, 0.75 and 1.0X rates, respectively and MV alone spores provided 15%, 50%, 65% and 85% control at 0.25, 0.50, 0.75 and 1.0X rates, respectively. However, when MV spores were combined with glyphosate, significantly higher control occurred than that caused by either component alone. Similar levels of control were observed for MV mycelial formulations applied alone or with glyphosate at equivalent concentrations of the fungus. The rate of disease progression was more rapid and severe at all fungal spore or mycelial formulations and herbicide rates when these propagules were applied in combination with glyphosate. In field tests, 24 h after application, only 20% of kudzu plants were severely damaged by MV alone (0.25X), whereas 80% were severely diseased when MV spores and glyphosate were mixed and applied at 0.25X rates each. A similar trend occurred with the MV mycelial formulation applied at these rates. Synergist interactions on kudzu control were observed, especially when lower levels of MV (spores or mycelia) and glyphosate were combined and applied to kudzu in the greenhouse or in the field. These results suggest that it may be possible to incorporate glyphosate to improve the bioherbicidal control potential and reduce herbicide and inoculum requirements of M. verrucaria spores or mycelium for controlling kudzu.