Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Fall applications of MCPA to improve tiller synchrony and reduce lodging in winter wheat

  • 46 Accesses


Poor developmental spike synchrony in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) can reduce the effectiveness of chemical treatments keyed on reproductive events. The broadleaf herbicide (2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxy) acetic acid (MCPA) can be used to retard the development of wheat tillers if applied to winter wheat in the fall prior to the initiation of tiller primordia. Fall applications of 0.5 kg ha−1 MCPA were sufficient to reduce the tillering rate by 20–30% while providing a slight, but statistically non-significant, increase in yield. Significant increases in kernels spike−1 were observed in the MCPA treatments. The effect of MCPA on kernels spike −1 could be modulated by nitrogen fertility and planting density. A linear relationship between spike number m−2 and planting density could be observed with MCPA treatments. Reductions in total number of spikes m−2, but an increase in kernels spike−1, resulted in significant improvements in tiller synchrony. Improved tiller synchrony is important in optimizing chemical treatments where applications are based on the developmental stages of the spike. Significant reductions in plant height and subsequent reductions in lodging under high nitrogen fertility and high plant populations were observed with MCPA treatments.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Biro RL, Jaffe MJ (1984) Thigmomorphogenesis: ethylene evolution and its role in the changes observed in mechanically perturbed bean plants. Physiol Plant 62:289–296

  2. Coupland RT (1951) Effect of 2,4-D on spring wheat. Res Rep North Cent Weed Control Conf 8:58

  3. Derscheid LA (1952) Physiological and morphological responses of barley to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Plant Physiol 27:121–134

  4. Friesen HA (1950) Effect of 2,4-D on spring wheat. Res Rep North Cent Weed Control Conf 7:73

  5. Friesen HA, Harris MD (1951) Reaction of wheat to 2,4-D applied at various growth stages. Res Rep North Cent Weed Control Conf 8:59

  6. Jaffe MJ (1980) Morphogenetic responses of plants to mechanical stimuli or stress. Bioscience 30:239–243

  7. Martin DA, Miller SD, Alley HP (1989) Winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) response to herbicides applied at three growth stages. Weed Technology 3:90–94

  8. Woodward EJ, Marshall C (1987) Effects of seed treatment with a plant growth regulator on growth and tillering in spring barley (Hordeum distichum) cv. Triumph. Ann Appl Biol 110:629–638

  9. Zodoks JC, Chang TT, Konzak CF (1974) A decimal code for growth stages of cereals. Weed Research 14:415–421

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Loussaert, D., Ellis, D.R. Fall applications of MCPA to improve tiller synchrony and reduce lodging in winter wheat. J Plant Growth Regul 12, 47 (1993).

Download citation


  • Winter Wheat
  • MCPA
  • Nitrogen Rate
  • Tiller Reduction
  • Plant Height Reduction