Pelargonic acid is a non-selective post-emergence contact bio-herbicide which is registered both for cropping and non-cropping uses in several countries. Dose-response curves on the efficacy of pelargonic acid against common weeds in Mediterranean areas are not available. Dose-response curves of pelargonic acid efficacy against summer and winter annual weeds were evaluated in two field experiments (winter exp. in 2019 and summer exp. in 2020) in central Italy. Pelargonic acid was applied at five doses (1.4, 2.7, 5.4, 10.9 and 21.8 kg a.i. ha(-1)). Data on weed density, weed dry weight, and weed ground cover were used to calculate the efficacy of pelargonic acid against winter and summer weeds. Data were subjected to a non-linear regression analysis using the logistic dose-response model. Dose of pelargonic acid required to obtain 50%, 70%, 90% and 95% weed control against each weed species (ED50, ED70, ED90 and ED95) were estimated. ED values allowed us to classify winter and summer weeds with respect to their susceptibility to pelargonic acid (ED50 values in kg ha(-1) are reported in parenthesis): Kickxia spuria (2.6) (more susceptible) > Heliotropium europaeum (3.0) > Echinochloa crus-galli (3.4) > Solanum nigrum (3.6) > Stachys annua (5.3) > Papaver rhoeas (6.5) > Veronica hederifolia (10.3) > Amaranthus retroflexus (11.4) > Matricaria chamomilla (11.6) > Portulaca oleracea (18.7) > Lolium multiflorum (>21.8) (less susceptible). These findings will allow for the optimization of weed control by pelargonic acid and its use in weed management strategies, both in organic and sustainable cropping systems, under different environmental conditions.
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