Injury on white oak seedlings from herbicide exposure simulating drift

Jayesh B. Samtani, John B. Masiunas, James E. Appleby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Herbicide drift to landscape and woodland trees is a particular concern in midwestern United States where the topography is relatively flat, large-scale agriculture relies on herbicides, and housing developments and woodlands are intermingled with agricultural fields. Recently, leaf abnormalities (called leaf tatters) have been reported on white oak (Quercus alba L.). We evaluated the effects of field corn herbicides on white oak at the swollen bud, leaf unfolding, and expanded leaf stages. Container-grown white oak seedlings were treated with 1%, 10%, and 25% standard field use rates of 2,4-D isooctyl ester, glyphosate, 2,4-D isooctyl ester + glyphosate, dicamba, acetochlor + atrazine, and metolachlor. Loss of interveinal tissues (leaf tatters) occurred after treatment with the chloroacetanilide herbicides, acetochlor (+ atrazine) and metolachlor, only when oaks were in the leaf unfolding stage. No other herbicide caused tatter-like symptoms. Dicamba and 2,4-D ester applied at the leaf unfolding stage caused leaf cupping, downward rolling of leaf margins, elongation of leaf tips, leaf strapping with parallel veination, and initial leaf cupping followed by death of the growing point. Glyphosate applied at either the leaf unfolding or expanded leaf stage caused leaf chlorosis and necrosis, leaf tip browning, and curling of leaves. Herbicide applications near white oak should be timed before leaf unfolding or after the expanded leaf stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2076-2080
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • 2,4-D ester
  • Acetochlor
  • Atrazine
  • Dicamba
  • Glyphosate
  • Leaf tatters
  • Metolachlor
  • Quercus alba

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture

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