Tolerance of Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum) spores to herbicides.
Old World climbing fern (OWCF) is a highly invasive fern that disrupts natural communities in central and southern Florida. OCWF produces copious, wind-blown spores that have propelled its rapid invasion of Florida's natural areas over the last few decades. Current management of OWCF is limited to herbicides and natural resource managers in Florida have questioned if herbicides inhibit spore germination. This study compared spore germination rates of OWCF exposed to six herbicides and a surfactant from 1 to 24 h under laboratory conditions. Spores of OWCF were highly susceptible to metsulfuron, but exhibited tolerance to imazapyr, glyphosate, fluroxypyr, asulam, and triclopyr. Spore germination rates were 0.4% for spores exposed to 0.1 g ai L-1 of metsulfuron, but 0% for rates greater than or equal to 0.2 g ai L-1 at 30 d after treatment (DAT). Reduction in spore germination was observed with all other concentrations of herbicides tested, ranging from 10.4% with triclopyr (40 g ai L-1) to 42.6% with asulam (4.2 g ai L-1) compared to 47.9% germination for untreated checks 30 DAT. Spores were highly sensitive to metsulfuron with herbicide concentrations required for 50 and 95% inhibition of spore germination (I50 and I95) measuring 0.014 and 0.063 g ai L-1, respectively; spores were greater than 1,000-fold more sensitive to metsulfuron compared to I95 concentrations of any other herbicide tested. These results indicate that metsulfuron exhibits potential to control OWCF spore germination but spores are tolerant to the five other herbicides tested.