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2022 Midwest Vegetable Guide

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Page 60 of 291

Weed Management Strategies Midwest Veg Guide 2022 61 Summary of Nonchemical Weed Management Practices Cultural Land selection Avoid fields with a history of weed problems. Crop selection Grow the most competitive crops in fields with histories of weed problems. Crop rotation Rotate between vegetables and non-row crops such as alfalfa. Rotate between vegetables in different botanical categories. Adapted crop varieties Select crop varieties adapted for your area. Proper row spacings and plant densities Use row spacings and plant densities that assure rapid crop canopy closure. Correct planting times Plant crops when soil temperatures favor rapid germination and emergence. Do not plant warm-season crops too early in the season. Appropriate crop management Vigorous, healthy crops are more competitive against weeds and insects. Mulch Natural mulches may be appropriate on small acreages. Synthetic (plastic) mulches are useful to manage weeds within the row in warm-season crops. Consider disposal problems when using plastic mulches. Mechanical and Thermal Moldboard plowing This can eliminate emerged annual weeds. Rotary hoeing This is useful to manage small-seeded weeds in large-seeded crops such as sweet corn, snap bean, lima bean, and pea. Row cultivator Dislodge or cover as many weed seedlings as possible. Avoid damaging crop root systems. Mowing Mow weeds as soon as flowers appear so no viable weed seed is produced. Flame weeding Flame weeding, or using a hot flame to kill weeds, is effective for stale seedbed weed removal or weeds that emerge before the vegetable crop. Flame weeding is effective for weed control in vegetables such as onions, parsnips, and carrots. Some growers have successfully used flame weeding on transplanted onions that are 8-10 in. tall. Sweet corn that has just emerged and potatoes up to 2 in. tall can be flame weeded. Biological Cover crops and living mulches Cover crops and intercrops can reduce weed pressure in a variety of ways: they can compete with weeds to reduce weed seed production, release allelochemicals that suppress weed seed germination and growth, or produce residue that acts as a mulch to suppress weed growth. Insect or disease pests or weeds No current systems use insects or diseases to manage weeds in common vegetables.

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