Skip to main content

Evaluating Effect of Degree of Water Stress on Growth and Fecundity of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) Using Soil Moisture Sensors

  • Parminder S. Chahal (a1), Suat Irmak (a2), Mithila Jugulam (a3) and Amit J. Jhala (a4)

Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) is the most problematic weed in agronomic crop production fields in the United States. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of degree of water stress on the growth and fecundity of A. palmeri using soil moisture sensors under greenhouse conditions. Two A. palmeri biotypes collected from Nebraska were grown in loam soil maintained at 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, and 12.5% soil field capacity (FC) corresponding to no, light, moderate, high, and severe water stress levels, respectively. Water was regularly added to pots based on soil moisture levels detected by Watermark or Decagon 5TM sensors to maintain the desired water stress level. Amaranthus palmeri plants maintained at ≤25% FC did not survive more than 35 d after transplanting. Amaranthus palmeri at 100%, 75%, and 50% FC produced similar numbers of leaves (588 to 670 plant−1) based on model estimates; however, plants at 100% FC achieved a maximum height of 178 cm compared with 124 and 88 cm at 75% and 50% FC, respectively. The growth index (1.1×105 to 1.4×105 cm3 plant−1) and total leaf area (571 to 693 cm2 plant−1) were also similar at 100%, 75%, and 50% FC. Amaranthus palmeri produced similar root biomass (2.3 to 3 g plant−1) at 100%, 75%, and 50% FC compared with 0.6 to 0.7 g plant−1 at 25% and 12.5% FC, respectively. Seed production was greatest (42,000 seeds plant−1) at 100% FC compared with 75% and 50% FC (14,000 to 19,000 seeds plant−1); however, the cumulative seed germination was similar (38% to 46%) when mother plants were exposed to ≥50% FC. The results of this study show that A. palmeri can survive ≥50% FC continuous water stress conditions and can produce a significant number of seeds with no effect of on seed germination.

Corresponding author
Author for correspondence: Amit J. Jhala, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583. (Email:
Hide All
Baskin, CC, Baskin, JM (1998) Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination. 1st ed. San Diego: Academic. 666 p
Benech-Arnold, RL, Fenner, M, Edwards, PJ (1992) Changes in dormancy level in Sorghum halepense seeds induced by water stress during seed development. Funct Ecol 6: 596605
Benjamin, JG, Nielsen, DC (2006) Water deficit effects on root distribution of soybean, field pea and chickpea. Field Crops Res 97:248253
Berger, ST, Ferrell, JA, Rowland, DL, Webster, TM (2015) Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) competition for water in cotton. Weed Sci 63:928935
Bolmgren, J, Cowan, PD (2008) Time–size tradeoffs: a phylogenetic comparative study of flowering time, plant height and seed mass in a north-temperate flora. Oikos 117:424429
Bond, JA, Oliver, LR (2006) Comparative growth of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) accessions. Weed Sci 54:121126
Bravo, W, Leon, RG, Ferrell, JA, Mulvaney, MJ, Wood, CW (2017) Differentiation of life-history traits among Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) populations and its relation to cropping systems and glyphosate sensitivity. Weed Sci 65:339349
Chahal, PS, Aulakh, JS, Jugulum, M, Jhala, AJ (2015) Herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats.) in the United States—mechanisms of resistance, impact, and management. Pages 129 in Price A, ed. Herbicides, Agronomic Crops, and Weed Biology. Rijeka, Croatia: InTech
Chahal, PS, Varanasi, VK, Jugulam, M, Jhala, AJ (2017) Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) in Nebraska: confirmation, EPSPS gene amplification, and response to POST corn and soybean herbicides. Weed Technol 31:8093
Chandi, A, Jordan, DL, York, AC, Burton, J, Milla-Lewis, SR, Spears, J, Whitaker, JR, Wells, R (2013) Response of herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) accessions to drought stress. Int J Agron. 10.1155/2013/823913.
Chauhan, BS (2013) Growth response of itchgrass (Rottboellia cochinchinensis) to water stress. Weed Sci 61:98103
Chauhan, BS, Abugho, SB (2013) Effect of water stress on the growth and development of Amaranthus spinosus, Leptochloa chinensis, and rice. Am J Plant Sci 4:989998.
Chauhan, BS, Johnson, DE (2010) Growth and reproduction of junglerice (Echinochloa colona) in response to water-stress. Weed Sci 58:132135
Coble, HD, Williams, FM, Ritter, RL (1981) Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) interference in soybeans (Glycine max). Weed Sci 29:339342
Earl, HJ (2003) A precise gravimetric method for simulating drought stress in pot experiments. Crop Sci 43:18681873
Ehleringer, J (1983) Ecophysiology of Amaranthus palmeri, a Sonoran desert summer annual. Oecologia 57:107112
Ehleringer, J (1985) Annuals and perennials of warm deserts. Pages 162180 in Chabot BF, Mooney HA, eds. Physiological Ecology of North American Plant Communities. New York: Chapman and Hall
Fenner, M (1991) The effects of the parent environment on seed germinability. Seed Sci Res 1:7584
Forseth, IN, Ehleringer, JR (1982) Ecophysiology of two solar tracking desert winter annuals. Oecologia 54:4149
Franks, SJ, Sim, S, Weis, AE (2007) Rapid evolution of flowering time by an annual plant in response to a climate fluctuation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:12781282
Heap, I (2017) Herbicide Resistant Palmer Amaranth Globally. Accessed: November 9, 2017
Hillel, D (1998) Environmental Soil Physics. San Diego: Academic. 771 pp
Horak, MJ, Loughin, TM (2000) Growth analysis of four Amaranthus species. Weed Sci 48:347355
Irmak, S, Haman, DZ (2001) Performance of the Watermark granular matrix sensor in sandy soils. Appl Eng Agric 17: 787795
Irmak, S, Haman, DZ, Irmak, A, Jones, JW, Campbell, KL, Crisman, TL (2004) Measurement and analysis of growth and stress parameters of Viburnum odoratissimum (Ker-gawl) grown in a multi-plot box system. HortScience 39:14451455
Irmak, S, Payero, JO, VanDeWalle, B, Rees, J, Zoubek, G, Martin, DL, Kranz, WL, Eisenhauer, D, Leininger, D (2016) Principles and Operational Characteristics of Watermark Granular Matrix Sensor to Measure Soil Water Status and Its Practical Applications for Irrigation Management in Various Soil Textures. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Extension Circular EC783. Accessed: October 30, 2017
Jackson, LA, Kapusta, G, Schutte Mason, DJ (1985) Effect of duration and type of natural weed infestations on soybean yield. Agron J 77:725729
Jhala, AJ, Sandell, LD, Rana, N, Kruger, GR, Knezevic, SZ (2014) Confirmation and control of triazine and 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase-inhibiting herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) in Nebraska. Weed Technol 28:2838
Karimmojeni, H, Bazrafshan, AH, Majidi, MM, Torabian, S, Rashidi, B (2014) Effect of maternal nitrogen and drought stress on seed dormancy and germinability of Amaranthus retroflexus . Plant Species Biol 29: e1e8. 10.1111/1442-1984.12022.
Keeley, PE, Carter, CH, Thullen, RJ (1987) Influence of planting date on growth of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri). Weed Sci 35:199204
Klingaman, TE, Oliver, LR (1994) Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) interference in soybeans (Glycine max). Weed Sci 42:523527
Knezevic, SZ, Horak, MJ, Vanderlip, RL (1999) Estimates of physiological determinants for redroot pigweed. Weed Sci 47:291296
Knezevic, SZ, Streibig, JC, Ritz, C (2007) Utilizing R software package for dose-response studies: the concept and data analysis. Weed Technol 21:840848
Kohrt, JR, Sprague, CL (2017) Herbicide management strategies in field corn for a three-way herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) population. Weed Technol 31:364372
Lawlor, DW (2013) Genetic engineering to improve plant performance under drought: physiological evaluation of achievements, limitations, and possibilities. J Exp Bot 64:83108
Liphadzi, KB, Dille, JA (2006) Annual weed competitiveness as affected by preemergence herbicide in corn. Weed Sci 54:156165
Lubbers, MD, Stahlman, PW, Al-Khatib, K (2007) Fluroxypyr efficacy is affected by relative humidity and soil moisture. Weed Sci 55:260263
Massinga, RA, Currie, RS, Horak, MJ, Boyer, J Jr (2001) Interference of Palmer amaranth in corn. Weed Sci 49: 202208
Massinga, RA, Currie, RS, Trooien, TP (2003) Water use and light interception under Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) and corn competition. Weed Sci 51:523531
McLachlan, SM, Swanton, CJ, Weise, SF, Tollenaar, M (1993) Effect of corn-induced shading and temperature on rate of leaf appearance in redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.). Weed Sci 41:590593
Morrison, RG, Lownds, NK, Sterling, TM (1995) Picloram uptake, translocation, and efficacy in relation to water status of Russian knapweed (Acroptilon repens). Weed Sci 43:3439
Paudel, R, Grantz, DA, Vu, HB, Shrestha, A (2016) Tolerance of elevated ozone and water stress in a California population of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri). Weed Sci 64:276284
Peters, NCB (1982) Production and dormancy of wild oat (Avena fatua) seed from plants grown under soil water stress. Ann Appl Biol 100:189196
Radosevich, S, Holt, JS, Ghersa, C (1997) Weed Ecology: Implications for Vegetation Management. New York: Wiley. Pp 278301
Rawls, WJ (1983) Estimating soil bulk density from particle size analyses and organic matter content. Soil Sci 135:123125
Rawls, WJ, Gimenez, D, Grossman, R (1998) Use of soil texture, bulk density and slope of the water retention curve to predict saturated hydraulic conductivity. Trans Am Soc Agric Eng 41:983988
Ritz C, Streibig JC (2016) Analysis of Dose-Response Curves. Accessed: January 20, 2018
Ruiter, HD, Meinen, E (1998) Influence of water stress and surfactant on the efficacy, absorption, and translocation of glyphosate. Weed Sci 46:289296
Sarangi, D, Irmak, S, Lindquist, JL, Knezevic, SZ, Jhala, AJ (2015) Effect of water stress on the growth and fecundity of common waterhemp (Amaranthus rudis). Weed Sci 64:4252
Saxton, KE, Rawls, WJ (2006) Soil water characteristic estimates by texture and organic matter for hydrologic solutions. Soil Sci Soc Am J 70:15691578
Saxton, KE, Rawls, WJ, Romberger, JS, Papendick, RI (1986) Estimating generalized soil water characteristics from texture. Trans Am Soc Agric Eng 50:10311035
Shitaka, Y, Hirose, T (1998) Effects of shift in flowering time on the reproductive output of Xanthium canadense in a seasonal environment. Oecologia 114:361367
Skelton, JJ, Ma, R, Riechers, DE (2016) Waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) control under drought stress with 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and glyphosate. Weed Bio Manag 16:3441
Steckel, LE, Sprague, CL, Hager, AG, Simmons, FW, Bollero, GA (2003) Effects of shading on common waterhemp (Amaranthus rudis) growth and development. Weed Sci 51:898903
Stoller, EW, Myers, RA (1989) Response of soybeans (Glycine max) and four broadleaf weeds to reduced irradiance. Weed Sci 37:570574
Vieira, BC, Samuelson, SL, Alves, GS, Gaines, TA, Werle, R, Kruger, GR (2018) Distribution of glyphosate-resistant Amaranthus spp. in Nebraska. Pest Manag Sci. 10.1002/ps.4781
Webster, TM, Grey, TL (2008) Growth and reproduction of Benghal dayflower (Commelina benghalensis) in response to drought stress. Weed Sci 56:561566
Wiese, AF (1968) Rate of weed root elongation. Weed Sci 16:1113
Wright, SR, Jennette, MW, Coble, HD, Rufty, TW Jr (1999a) Root morphology of young Glycine max, Senna obtusifolia, and Amaranthus palmeri . Weed Sci 47:706711
Wright, SR, Coble, HD, Raper, CD Jr, Rufty, TW Jr (1999b) Comparative responses of soybean (Glycine max), sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia), and Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) to root zone and aerial temperatures. Weed Sci 47:167174
Wu, D, Qu, JJ, Hao, X, Xiong, J (2013) The 2012 agricultural drought assessment in Nebraska using MODIS satellite data. Pages 170–175 in Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Agro-Geoinformatics. Fairfax, VA: Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems
Zhou, J, Tao, B, Messersmith, CG, Nalewaja, JD (2007) Glyphosate efficacy on velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) is affected by stress. Weed Sci 55:240244
Zhu, Y (2016) Performance of Frequency-Domain and Time-Domain Reflectometry Soil Moisture Sensors in Coarse- and Fine-Textured Soils. MS dissertation. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska–Lincoln. 83 p
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Weed Science
  • ISSN: 0043-1745
  • EISSN: 1550-2759
  • URL: /core/journals/weed-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed