Breaking bindweed: Can plant growth regulators disrupt apical dominance, deplete a persistent bud bank, and improve the control of perennial weed species in specialty crops?
CSANR Project 173
Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) is notoriously difficult to manage in specialty crop systems, particularly those under organic production. Perennial species possess the abundant nutrient reserves necessary to facilitate plant regrowth from underground, vegetative, and dormant buds following physical or chemical control measures. Research conducted in other species has identified the signature genes involved in regulating vegetative bud dormancy in perennial weeds and described how dormancy is affected by plant growth regulators. The ability to manipulate the signals that control dormancy in perennial weeds would provide growers with a novel tool for managing some of agriculture’s most troublesome species. This proposal, the results of which will be used to leverage USDA SCBG and OREI programs for future research and extension funds, will address if/how foliar-applied plant growth regulators can be used to disrupt apical dominance, elicit simultaneous bud break, and make perennial weed species more susceptible to subsequent control measures. Our proposal supports the BIOAg program (Suataining Resources: Food Production) by working to provide Washington’s growers with a novel weed management tool. This biologically based strategy could enhance the sustainability of crop production by reducing the need for repeated tillage, an input with significant environmental and/or economic costs.