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Integrate science in nursery weed management plans to minimize labor costs

November 02, 2009

Kathie Kalmowitz Ph.D.

For many nurseries, there’s very little science in their weed management plans. Instead of taking advantage of new herbicide chemistries that enable more vigorous plant growth, they use labor-intensive manual weeding that leaves 20 percent of weeds, seeds and roots behind, creating a cycle of weed infestation. A successful plan means a better balance of proper herbicide technology with appropriate hand weeding.

Kathie Kalmowitz, Ph.D., BASF Technical Specialist, shares tips for successful weed control:

Know when and where to apply herbicides. Follow label instructions and do not apply herbicides in liner beds or cell trays when rooting cuttings. Hand weeding is still necessary in these sensitive planting environments.

  • Manage weeds around the perimeter of the operation to prevent seed/vegetative encroachment on healthy plants in containers. In addition to targeting weeds in plant blocks, keep non-production areas, such gravel areas and ditchbanks, clean of all weed seed and vegetative propagules.
  • Rotate herbicides to minimize resistance and improve weed control.
  • Help your herbicide investment work more effectively by choosing the correct combination of herbicides with proper timing of applications to fit weed growth cycles.
  • Choose granular or liquid herbicide formulations based on your operation, budgets and personnel. Effective herbicides can be found with either formulation type.

To learn more on how you can minimize costs and improve plant quality with an economical, science-based weed management plan, read Dr. Kalmowitz’s “The Science of Managing Weeds in Nurseries” published in GrowerTalks here.


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