A 2-yr field study was conducted to compare the growth of Amaranthus palmeri, A. rudis, A. retroflexus, and A. albus planted in June and July. Rates of height increase (centimeters per growing degree day) were 0.21 and 0.18 for A. palmeri, 0.16 and 0.11 for A. rudis, 0.12 and 0.09 for A. retroflexus, and 0.08 and 0.09 for A. albus in 1994 and 1995, respectively, when planted in June. A. palmeri had among the highest values for plant volume, dry weight, and leaf area, while A. albus had the lowest. Specific leaf area values (cm2 g−1) ranged from 149 to 261 for A. palmeri, 160 to 205 for A. rudis, 150 to 208 for A. retroflexus, and 127 to 190 for A. albus. Maximum relative growth rates (g g−1 day−1) for any measured period were 0.32 for A. palmeri, 0.31 for A. rudis, 0.30 for A. retroflexus, and 0.26 for A. albus. Recent increases in species range and observed changes in weed community structure may be partially explained by the growth characteristics of A. palmeri and A. rudis. Herbicide rate and timing recommendations for mixed populations of these weeds should be based on A. palmeri because of its high growth rates.
Nomenclature: Amaranthus rudis Sauer AMATA, common waterhemp; A. palmeri S. Wats. AMAPA, Palmer amaranth; A. retroflexus L. AMARE, redroot pigweed; A. albus L. AMAAL, tumble pigweed.