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Practical Applications of Herbicide Physiology

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This lesson will focus on the impact of herbicide and plant characteristics important in determining herbicide performance. Visual images will be used to illustrate several principles including herbicide site of uptake, translocation, site of action sensitivity, and environmental effects on herbicide performance. This information provides a basis for maximizing herbicide performance.

Introduction for Practical Applications of Herbicide Physiology

Alex R. Martin
Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA
Deana M. Namuth
Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA
Peer Reviewed Web Lesson JNRLSE Approved 2004

Lesson Navigation Tips:

  • Click on ’Animations’ button found to the left in order to view the animation which supplements this lesson. You can also click on the animation icon within the text.
  • Click on the figures to see enlarged versions.
  • Click on words in color to bring up their definition.


This lesson will examine the basic requirements for herbicide performance. This lesson will examine how herbicide and plant characteristics interact as a basis for explaining herbicide performance. The application requirements of both soil and foliar active herbicides will be examined in relation to their characteristics. The influence of environmental conditions on herbicide performance, both weed control and crop injury, will be examined.


1. Understand the influence of herbicide site of absorption and translocation characteristics on herbicide performance.
2. Explain the effects of temperature and moisture on herbicide activity.
3. Understand the mechanisms giving rise to herbicide selectivity.
4. Understand the influence of weed seedling density on herbicide effectiveness.
5. Explain the effect of weed size and age on sensitivity to herbicides.

Development of this lesson was supported in part by the Cooperative State Research,
Education, & Extension Service, U.S. Dept of Agriculture under Agreement Number 00-34416-10368
administered by Cornell University and the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC).
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication
are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of
the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This lesson has been assigned University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Cooperative Extension Journal Series Number 1021.


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