Sami Budhathoki Finds Palmer Amaranth Can Adapt to Saline Soils
By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor
Sami Budhathoki is in the last semester of her undergrad degree at Fresno State. She spoke with California Ag Today recently about her research on how the Palmer Amaranth can adapt to saline soils in the San Joaquin Valley. Palmer amaranth as among the most troublesome weeds in agriculture because it is a very prolific seed producer and very tough to control due to widespread glyphosate escapes. It is found throughout California.
Her major advisor is Anil Shrestha, a professor in weed science at Fresno State. Budhathoki presented her research at a recent California Weed Science Society Meeting in Sacramento.
“I treated soils with five different salt levels, and I found out that the weed likes that higher salt levels, and they did fine, and they all germinated,” Budhathoki said.
Based on the pictures on Budhathoki’s poster, the Amaranth grew better in soils with higher salinities.
“That gives us the hint that Fresno is more resistant for the Palmer Amaranth plants because the west side has a lot of salt in its soil,” she said.
That is why it is hard to control in those areas, especially because they propagate so easily.
Budhathoki gave California Ag Today more insight on her research.
“Before treating the soil with salt, the plants were all the same height and same size. After the treatment, you can see the differences in how each plant reacted to the salt,” she said.
We asked Budhathoki what it was like working with such a troublesome weed in the ag industry.
“It was my first time working with Palmer Amaranth; it was a good experience,” she said.
Budhathoki says that she thinks there will be more research on this weed in the future so that farmers can find out how to better control it.
The California Weed Science Society (CWSS) held their annual meeting in Sacramento from January 13-15, 2016. The meeting fostered collaboration between Pest Control Advisors (PCAs) and farmers as they gathered to learn the newest innovations in weed science.
John Roncoroni, weed science farm advisor for the UC Cooperative Extension in Napa County, as well as the outgoing CWSS president, said four Fresno State students gave presentations at the meeting on their research. “We’ve had really great student participation—the amount of student scholarships we’ve given is up this year, the posters, the students and our attendance this year is up,” Roncoroni said. Pre-registration was about 530 people.
Roncoroni suspects that rain pushed people to attend, “because—with that rain—we’re looking at more weeds this year. So people are looking for the newest information on weeds. This year’s conference really has done a really good job of putting that information together. Kate Walker, our program chair, has really done a fine job of putting together a great program.”
Kate Walker, technical service representative for BASF Corporation, is also the new, incoming CWSS president.
The CWSS recently updated its published textbook, Principles of Weed Control, 4th Edition, that focuses on the applied aspects of weed control. The purpose of this textbook is to provide access to the fundamental principles and concepts of weed management in California. The book is designed for use at the college level by students who have an interest in pursuing a plant science or associated background of course work. It is also a useful resource for individuals studying to become PCAs and applicators or for consultants who work in weed science. For more information, go to the CWSS website Publications page.