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Integrated Weed Management

Food plotters rely on glyphosate and herbicides because it's easy. Very few think about how they affect the soil. Many weeds are becoming resistant to herbicides and yet most reading this won't worry about that aspect in their management program. Integrated weed management is not a term heard discussed. Here are some thoughts.

If you need to use herbicides, read the label. If it is suggested to use crop oil or ammonium sulfate, do it. If your using glyphosate use it at the right place, right time and right way. Why spray to stunt growth versus complete kill. Stunting forages is what is setting yourself up for herbicide tolerant weeds. Spray the right time of day. Spray at the higher levels. Most of all spray earlier. Most weeds need to be sprayed before they are 4" tall. People wait too long before they decide their weeds are beyond tolerable levels.

  1. Plant bags of seed that are low on weed seeds. This means read the label or ask for a label before you buy.

  2. Plant for 100-125% stand percentage. This means calculate a final stand percentage. Just because a bag says it plants 1/2 acre doesn't always mean that it does or will. There has become an incredible shrinking bag syndrome in the wildlife industry.

  3. Always overseed/frost seed your perennials. Issues like root rot will not manifest themselves at initial spring green up. Dense swards will help keep weeds at bay.

  4. Plant the right depth. Many seeds only need to be planted at 1/8-1/4" deep. How deep are the seeds being pressed into the soil when using a cultipacker?

  5. Do not overwork the ground. Every time you work the soil, you lose .60" of rain fall equivalent.

  6. Plant a plot rotation that includes natural weed smothering forages. Some of these warm season annuals dramatically reduce next crops weed pressures.

  7. Clip before weeds set viable seed heads.

  8. Plant the right forages for your own unique soil conditions and to match your management.

  9. Fertilize to not feed weeds. This might include using a lower nitrogen starter at planting and then using a 2nd pass 3-5 weeks post plant.

  10. Plant forages that have allelopathic interactions in soil.

There are many more tidbits and tricks I educate my customer base on how to practice integrated weed management. You need to give back to the soil if you cause harm to it. Attached pic is of foliar feeding to maintain thick canopy and sward density.

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