In addition to being a strong competitor with cotton and other row crops, Palmer amaranth has developed resistance to numerous important agricultural herbicides, including glyphosate. The objective of this study was to determine if the glyphosate-resistance trait can be transferred via pollen movement from a glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth source to a glyphosate-susceptible sink. In 2006 and 2007 glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth plants were transplanted in the center of a 30-ha cotton field. Susceptible Palmer amaranth plants were transplanted into plots located at distances up to 300 m from the edge of the resistant pollen source in each of the four cardinal and ordinal directions. Except for the study plots, the interior of the field and surrounding acreage were kept free of Palmer amaranth by chemical and physical means. Seed was harvested from 249 and 292 mature females in October 2006 and 2007, respectively. Offspring, 14,037 in 2006 and 13,685 in 2007, from glyphosate-susceptible mother plants were treated with glyphosate when the plants were 5 to 7 cm tall. The proportion of glyphosate-resistant progeny decreased with increased distance from the pollen source; approximately 50 to 60% of the offspring at the 1- and 5-m distances were resistant to glyphosate, whereas 20 to 40% of the offspring were resistant at the furthest distances. The development of resistance was not affected by direction; winds were variable with respect to both speed and direction during the peak pollination hours throughout the growing season. Results from this study indicate that the glyphosate-resistance trait can be transferred via pollen movement in Palmer amaranth.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats. AMAPA; cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L.