• Crop Protection
  • Nov 01, 2020

4 Tips for Successful Weed Control

Spring is just around the corner, and you know that the emergence of troublesome weeds won’t be far behind. If you haven’t done so already, talk with your local trusted advisor about your weed-control strategy for next season. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you formulate a plan to tackle weeds throughout their growth cycles.


1. Look at last year.

Evaluate the performance of last year's weed-control strategy to see what worked well and what you’d like to switch up. Note last year’s most prevalent weeds and devise your plan for controlling them first. Your local agronomist can equip you with resources — for example, university research and/or Answer Plot® program data — that can help you make good agronomic and economic decisions for your fields.


2. Start with a clean field at planting.

Use tillage or an effective burndown application to get your crop off to a weed-free start. An effective herbicide strategy consists of using multiple modes of action, correct herbicide rates and timely postemergence applications. In no-till cropping systems, I usually recommend doing a fall burndown. Fall-emerging marestail is very difficult to control with herbicides in the spring, especially in parts of the Midwest. If you did not do a fall burndown, your spring burndown will need to use effective modes of action to control any winter annuals and/or marestail in your fields.


I recommend using three effective modes of action for any weed-management program. This strategy consists of residuals and postemergent herbicides. The postemergent herbicides should be applied in a timely manner and offer another residual to protect against later-emerging weeds such as waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. This can be an effective strategy for both traditional tillage and no-till systems. Be sure to check herbicide labels for plant growth restrictions on postemergent herbicides.  


3. Choose the right adjuvant.

The goal is to get all the herbicide you possibly can to the target weed or soil, so choosing the right adjuvant for whatever burndown system you use is key. InterLock® adjuvant works effectively with a wide range of herbicides to improve spray deposition and manage drift. OnTarget™ adjuvant is designed specifically for use with dicamba herbicide chemistries to reduce driftable fines and enhance canopy penetration. Talk with your agronomist about what adjuvant would work best for your fields.


4. Know your weed emergence schedule.

As I mentioned earlier, marestail can emerge in the fall, but it is one of the earlier weeds that also emerges in the spring. Another early emerger is giant ragweed. With these weeds, an early burndown application is important to achieve adequate control. Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth have a longer period of emergence — from early spring to peak emergence in June and early July. So make sure you use an effective preemergence herbicide, but also use a layered residual herbicide post emergent for late-emerging Palmer amaranth and waterhemp.


Large weeds result in limited options and higher costs for you. It pays to be proactive and consistent to achieve season-long weed control, so be sure to get an early start.

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