Controlling Weeds in Drowned Out Crops

July 19, 2013 in Agronomic Crops, General, Vegetable Crops

Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist; mjv@udel.edu

An area of the field where the crop has drowned out gives weeds an opportunity to grow without crop competition, and potentially produce a tremendous amount of weed seeds. If a particularly troublesome species such as Texas panicum or Palmer amaranth is growing in these spots they could really impact your weed management options. So what should you do? Some options to consider are whether you can reach these spots with equipment such as mower or sprayers; what is the crop in the field; what do you intend to plant in the field after harvest; and what will effectively control or kill the weeds?

Mowing is an option, but in all likelihood the areas will need to be mowed at 10 to 14 day intervals to prevent seed production. If the weeds are tall, one option is mowing to remove the top growth and allowing the weeds to start regrowing before you spray them.

If considering a herbicide, first assess the situation. If you are treating areas of a field, and will be harvesting the crop around the bare areas, you are limited to herbicide options for the crop planted in the field. Furthermore, you are limited to the same herbicide rates and herbicide application timings.

Also, consider what will be planted in the field next and check your rotational intervals. Will you have enough time between herbicide application and planting the next crop?