Effects and mitigation of poor water quality on herbicide performance: A review

Mahnaz Mirzaei*, Eskandar Zand, Mehdi Rastgoo, Alireza Hasanfard, Per Kudsk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


Spray water quality parameters such as hardness, pH, alkalinity, turbidity, and total dissolved solids (TDS) can influence the performance of herbicides. Polyvalent cations found in hard water can reduce the efficacy of post-emergence herbicides that are weak acids. Various approaches have been proposed to mitigate the negative effects of spray water properties on herbicide performance. Water conditioning adjuvants are designed for overcoming the adverse effects of hard water. One group of adjuvants are nitrogen containing compounds such as ammonium sulfate (AMS). The ability of AMS to overcome hard water antagonism is well-documented but the positive effect of other ammonium compounds are variable and depend on herbicides and weed species. Other adjuvant groups that can overcome effects of poor spray quality are ethoxylated amine surfactants, organic acids and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Water quality is poor in many parts of the world, and accordingly, the study of water property effects on herbicide performance is needed to optimize use, and prevent overuse, of herbicides.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWeed Research
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • ammonium sulfate
  • hardness
  • pH
  • spray water
  • weak acid herbicide


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