To evaluate the effect of pre-spraying growing conditions on herbicide efficacy, two years of experimentation were conducted in which Persicaria maculosa plants were exposed to different light intensities for 1¿4 days before metribuzin treatment. Specific leaf area, rather than plant growth rate or plant size, was the only parameter that correlated well with herbicide efficacy in both years of experimentation. The negative relationship between the ED50 and the specific leaf area indicates that leaf characteristics might be an important determinant of herbicide efficacy, for instance through an effect on herbicide uptake. In the third year of experimentation this hypothesis was further investigated by raising six cohorts of weed plants at a 1-week interval and thus exposing them to a range of weather conditions. Clear relationships between uptake and herbicide efficacy were found for a combination of four plant species (Solanum nigrum, Senecio vulgaris, Chenopodium album and Brassica napus) and two herbicides (phenmedipham and bentazone). For phenmedipham, uptake was negatively correlated with global radiation and positively correlated with relative humidity. For the herbicide bentazone the opposite was found. These results were not species-specific. This study shows the importance of the sensitivity of herbicide × species combinations and indicates that pre-spraying weather information is relevant for the development of reduced dose rate recommendations.