Top 10 Ways to Improve Physical Weed Control

Author: Eric Gallandt, University of Maine
Date of Original Post: March 4, 2021
Revised on:

1 Adopt a systems-perspective to weed management including multiple stresses to reduce the weed seedbank.
2 Prepare a stale seedbed using shallow tillage and flaming, tarping, or solarization to reduce weed seedling density.
3 Prepare a firm, level seedbed free of rocks and residue.
4 Plant, sow or transplant crops in precisely spaced, straight rows
5 Establish and maintain a size advantage for your crop by planting at an optimal depth, and using irrigation and starter fertilizer to encourage vigorous early growth.
6 Precisely adjust row-crop cultivators based on spacing of planting or seeding equipment. Rows cultivated must match rows planted, or be a multiple thereof (e.g., if planning to cultivate two rows of vegetable crops at 20 in. centers in a bed system, crops must be planted with a two-row planter on 20 in. centers).
7 Cultivate early, targeting very small, white-thread or cotyledon growth stage weed seedlings.
8 Cultivate as close to the crop row as possible.
9 Consider finger, torsion and tine weeders, alone and in combination, to target intra-row weeds.
10 Consider hilling or ridging to bury small weeds within the crop row.
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