How to translate text using browser tools
22 May 2023 Effect of herbicides on pollinator foraging behavior and flower morphology in white clover (Trifolium repens L.)–infested turfgrass
Navdeep Godara, R. Chris Williamson, Daewon Koo, Shawn D. Askew
Author Affiliations +

The recent decline in pollinator abundance is a cause of concern for sustaining global food production. Several common weeds of managed turfgrass systems attract honeybees and other wild pollinators. As turfgrass often requires treatment with insecticides that harm bees, best practices are needed to prevent bees from visiting weed-infested turf areas that will be treated for insect pests. Weed control tactics can protect pollinator exposure to insecticides by reducing the floral resources afforded to bees from turfgrass weeds. Three field studies were conducted in 2021 and 2022 to evaluate the effect of various herbicides and herbicide formulation constituents on pollinator foraging and white clover floral morphology in managed tall fescue turfgrass. Treatments included a nontreated control; MCPP; 2,4-D; dicamba; Trimec Classic™ (2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba); Speedzone™ (carfentrazone, 2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba); and an herbicide-formulation constituent (inert ingredients of Speedzone™). All response variables were evaluated for 8 d, starting from one day before treatment and ending 6 d after treatment (DAT). The herbicide formulation constituent did not alter white clover flower density, floral discoloration, floral quality, or insect visitation compared to nontreated plots. Herbicides reduced flower density and floral quality to the same extent, but MCPP discolored white clover floral tissue 16% per day and less than all other herbicides except dicamba. Floral quality completely declined in approximately 5 d following any herbicide treatment. Bee visitation to white clover–infested turf increased by 3 bees min–1 for every 100 white clover blooms m–2. Honeybees and other insects vacated herbicide-treated areas in less than 2 d, despite minimal effects on floral quality and density at that time. The data suggest that practitioners could apply insecticides 2 d after auxin herbicide treatment and avoid harm to pollinators, but additional work is needed to directly measure pollinator exposure following such treatments.

Nomenclature: Carfentrazone; dicamba; MCPP; 2,4-D; white clover, Trifolium repens L.; tall fescue, Festuca arundinacea; honeybee, Apis mellifera L.

Navdeep Godara, R. Chris Williamson, Daewon Koo, and Shawn D. Askew "Effect of herbicides on pollinator foraging behavior and flower morphology in white clover (Trifolium repens L.)–infested turfgrass," Weed Technology 37(3), 221-225, (22 May 2023).
Received: 22 February 2023; Accepted: 8 May 2023; Published: 22 May 2023
food security
pollinator health
weed management approach
Get copyright permission
Back to Top