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Last updated: 2022, June 12




 Phytotoxicity of herbicides



Phytotoxicity is the toxic effect of a chemical compound / substance on plant growth and development. Phytotoxicity can manifest itself not only in plant stress, but also in changes in quantitative traits - a decrease in growth energy, a decrease in plant productivity and a decrease in the quality of the crop. Phytotoxicity is harm and damage to plants, which can be caused by a wide range of chemical compounds of natural and artificial origin, as well as their combined effect: traces of metals, soil acidity, soil salinity, pesticides, phytotoxins or allelochemicals. Unfavorable environmental conditions (weather, soil, etc.) can increase the effect of phytotoxicity.

Herbicides phytotoxicity and its combination with soil acidity is the most common in agriculture. Herbicides are designed to kill plants and are very beneficial - used to control unwanted plants such as weeds.

However, herbicides can cause phytotoxic effects in plants with different types of contact with plants:

- when drifting / drifting outside the area to which the herbicide is applied, for example, as a result of drift, spray spray, wind, or the use of a herbicide-contaminated sprayer or materials (such as straw or manure)

- as a result of the action of residual amounts of herbicides remaining in the soil after the application of the herbicide (since some herbicides decompose in the soil for a long time)

- errors, for example, if herbicides, fields, crops are confused, the norms are overestimated, the regulations for the application of herbicides are not followed, etc.

Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

Strong phytotoxicity manifests itself in the form of plant stress, as in this case - yellowing, stunted growth, deformation of the growing point after the application of Clearfield herbicide on sunflower, which was tested for the level of herbicide resistance. Contact Agricultural Consulting for audit of pesticides use and increasing of the effectiveness of their use!


The phytotoxicity of herbicides must be taken into account when planning crop rotations - and planning crop rotation, because after the application of some herbicides, crops can reduce the yield or die.

Often, the harm from phytotoxicity is not visible visually, it manifests itself only in a decrease in yield.

If the phytotoxicity is strong, then this manifests itself in the form of plant stress - growth retardation, changes in growth and color, in which case, even if the plants do not die, their yield will decrease.

For a successful farmer, it is very important that herbicides are applied correctly, so that there is no phytotoxicity and crop stress, in this case, you can increase work efficiency, save money and get the greatest profit from the agricultural business.


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