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Late-Season Weed Management to Stop Viable Weed Seed Production

  • Erin C. Hill (a1), Karen A. Renner (a1), Mark J. VanGessel (a2), Robin R. Bellinder (a3) and Barbara A. Scott (a2)...


Integrated weed management (IWM) for agronomic and vegetable production systems utilizes all available options to effectively manage weeds. Late-season weed control measures are often needed to improve crop harvest and stop additions to the weed seed bank. Eliminating the production of viable weed seeds is one of the key IWM practices. The objective of this research was to determine how termination method and timing influence viable weed seed production of late-season weed infestations. Research was conducted in Delaware, Michigan, and New York over a 2-yr period. The weeds studied included: common lambsquarters, common ragweed, giant foxtail, jimsonweed, and velvetleaf. Three termination methods were imposed: cutting at the plant base (simulating hand hoeing), chopping (simulating mowing), and applying glyphosate. The three termination timings were flowering, immature seeds present, and mature seeds present. Following termination, plants were stored in the field in mesh bags until mid-Fall when seeds were counted and tested for viability. Termination timing influenced viable seed development; however, termination method did not. Common ragweed and giant foxtail produced viable seeds when terminated at the time of flowering. All species produced some viable seed when immature seeds were present at the time of termination. The time of viable seed formation varied based on species and site-year, ranging from plants terminated the day of flowering to 1,337 growing degree d after flowering (base 10, 0 to 57 calendar d). Viable seed production was reduced by 64 to 100% when common lambsquarters, giant foxtail, jimsonweed, and velvetleaf were terminated with immature seeds present, compared to when plants were terminated with some mature seeds present. Our results suggest that terminating common lambsquarters, common ragweed, and giant foxtail prior to flowering, and velvetleaf and jimsonweed less than 2 and 3 wk after flowering, respectively, greatly reduces weed seed bank inputs.


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