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Managing Weeds on the Edges of Fields (07/16/15)

I notice road ditches and edges of fields are beginning to dry out following what seems to be very regular precipitation in May, June and early July.

Managing Weeds on the Edges of Fields

I notice road ditches and edges of fields are beginning to dry out following what seems to be very regular precipitation in May, June and early July. It might be time to manage weeds along the outside perimeter of fields by mowing.

Why mow? There are several reasons. First, perimeters of cultivated fields offer a greater diversity and density of weeds as weeds often migrate from undisturbed ditches into cultivated fields. Second, weeds along the edges of fields potentially are biotypes selected for tolerance to herbicides since they do not receive the full herbicide rate. Finally, mowing along the field perimeter reduces the number of weed seeds that ultimately will be added to the seedbank.

Manage weeds along the outside of the field perimeter by mowing weeds shortly after they begin to flower and by mowing regularly to ensure there is no seed production. Mow weeds as close to the crop as possible or perhaps one row into the crop if necessary to eliminate weeds. Don’t forget about areas of the field with no stand. Managing weeds within the field such as along wet spots, salt pockets, or other areas with reduced crop stand is important for stopping weed seed production and the addition of seeds to the seedbank.

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Tom Peters

 Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist

NDSU & U of MN

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