Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals

Tolerance of perennial pasture grass seedlings to pre- and post-emergent grass herbicides

B. S. Dear A B , G. A. Sandral A and B. C. D. Wilson A

A EH Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (NSW Department of Primary Industries and Charles Sturt University), Agricultural Institute, PMB, Pine Gully Road, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia.

B Charles Sturt University, School of Agriculture and Veterinary Science, Barooma Street, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 46(5) 637-644
Submitted: 16 August 2004  Accepted: 24 January 2005   Published: 12 May 2006


The tolerance of 5 perennial grasses during the seedling stage to pre- and post-emergent grass herbicides was examined in 3 glasshouse experiments. The perennial grass species screened were phalaris, (Phalaris aquatica L.), cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata L.), wallaby grass [Austrodanthonia richardsonii (Cashm.) H.P. Linder], perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.). Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) were included as non-target species and annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum Gaudin) and oats (Avena spp.) as representatives of typical weed species.

Herbicides evaluated were fluazifop-p, tralkoxydim, diclofop-methyl, fenoxaprop-p-ethyl, fenoxaprop-p-ethyl + pyrazoline, sethoxydim, flamprop-m-methyl, quizalofop-p-ethyl, clethodim, simazine, imazethapyr, propyzamide, carbetamide, clodinafop-propargyl + cloquintocet-mexyl, propaquizafop, atrazine, trifluralin, triallate, pendimethalin, metribuzin, trifluralin + oryzalin, cyanazine, chlorsulfuron and triasulfuron. Herbicide phytotoxicity was assessed 15 and 30 days after post-emergent herbicide application using the European Weed Research Committee (EWRC) visual score of leaf damage (1 indicating no effect, 9 indicating all plants dead) and plant herbage yield depression relative to the unsprayed control. Plant responses to pre-emergent herbicides were assessed 45 days after sowing.

Most herbicides were highly phytotoxic (EWRC score 4–9) to the perennial grass seedlings. However, atrazine, flamprop-m-methyl, imazethapyr, fenoxaprop-ethyl, and triallate caused less severe phytotoxicity (EWRC score 1–4) in phalaris, fescue, cocksfoot and perennial ryegrass from which they could be expected to recover, with yield reductions of between 0 and 45%, 30 days after spraying. Simazine caused yield losses of 20–50% in fescue, phalaris and perennial ryegrass which may be acceptable in swards with high weed burdens. Wallaby grass showed tolerance to flamprop-m-methyl, carbetamide, propyzamide and imazethapyr.

Subterranean clover was tolerant of most herbicides with yield losses less than 20% except for the post-emergent herbicides simazine and atrazine, and the pre-emergent herbicides triasulfuron, metribuzin, cyanazine and chlorsulfuron where yield suppression was between 50 and 99%.


The authors thank Charles Sturt University for use of the automated spraying cabinet for application of the herbicides, Ms B Vogel for the experimental designs and the referees for their editing and helpful suggestions.


Audy JM, Joubert G, Dumont R, Jan P, Lescar L (1977) Weed control trials in grass crops for seed. In ‘Compte rendu de la 9e conference du Columba’. pp. 619–635. (National Federation of Seed Producers: Angers)

Cole I, Koen T, Metcalfe J, Johnston W, Mitchell M (2003) Tolerance of Austrodanthonia fulva, Microlaena stipoides and Elymus scaber seedlings to nine herbicides. Plant Protection Quarterly 18, 18–22. open url image1

Currie PO, Volesky JD, Hilken TO, White RS (1987) Selective control of annual bromes in perennial grass stands. Journal of Range Management 40, 547–550. open url image1

Dear BS, Sandral GA (1999) The phytotoxicity of the herbicides bromoxynil, pyridate, imazethapyr and a bromoxynil + diflufenican mixture on subterranean clover and lucerne seedlings. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 39, 839–847.
CrossRef | open url image1

Dear BS, Conlan BJ, Richards MF, Coombes NE (1992) Influence of cultivar and season on the response of Trifolium subterraneum to simazine. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 32, 1095–1103.
CrossRef | open url image1

Dear BS, Sandral GA, Coombes NE (1995) Differential tolerance of Trifolium subterraneum L. (subterranean clover) cultivars to broadleaf herbicides 1. Herbage yield. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 35, 467–474.
CrossRef | open url image1

Dolling PJ (2001) Water use and drainage under phalaris, annual pasture, and crops on a duplex soil in Western Australia. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 52, 305–316.
CrossRef | open url image1

Helyar KR, Porter WM (1989) Soil acidification, its measurement and the processes involved. In ‘Soil acidity and plant growth’. (Ed. AD Robson) pp. 61–101. (Academic Press: Sydney)

Lemerle D, Hinkley RB (1991) Tolerances of canola, field pea, lupin and faba bean cultivars to herbicides. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 31, 379–386.
CrossRef | open url image1

Lodge GM, McMillan MG (1994) Effects of herbicides on wallaby grass (Danthonia spp.) 2. Established plants. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 34, 759–764.
CrossRef | open url image1

Lodge GM, McMillan MG, Schipp AJ, Cook AS (1994) Effects of herbicides on wallaby grass (Danthonia spp.) 1. Establishment. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 34, 753–757.
CrossRef | open url image1

Mullen CL, Dellow JJ, Francis RJ, Tonkin CJ (2002) Weed control in winter crops in 2002. Division of Plant Industries, NSW Agriculture, Orange.

Northcote KH (1979) ‘A factual key for the recognition of Australian soils.’ 4th edn. (Rellim Technical Publications: Glenside)

Ridley AM, Slattery WJ, Helyar KR, Cowling A (1990) Acidification under grazed annual and perennial grass based pastures. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 30, 539–544.
CrossRef | open url image1

Ridley AM, White RE, Simpson RJ, Callinan L (1997) Water use and drainage under phalaris, cocksfoot and annual ryegrass pastures. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 48, 1011–1023.
CrossRef | open url image1

Sandral GA, Dear BS, Pratley JE, Cullis BR (1997) Herbicide dose response curves in subterranean clover determined by bioassay. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 37, 67–74.
CrossRef | open url image1

Young JA, Evans RA (1978) Etiolated growth of range grasses for an indication of tolerance to atrazine. Weed Science 26, 480–483. open url image1

Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (12)