Submitted to: Washington State Weed Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 25, 2004
Publication Date: November 4, 2004
Citation: Boydston, R.A. 2004. Mechanical weed control in vegetable crops. 54th Annual Washington State Weed Conference Proceedings. pp 21. Technical Abstract: Mechanical weed control continues to be widely used and is an effective option for managing weeds in integrated conventional and organic cropping systems. Soon after seeding many vegetable crops, early germinating weeds can be removed through use of rotary hoes and tine harrows. These tools are most effective when used prior to, or very soon after weed emergence. As crops become more established, more aggressive weeding tools such as sweeps, rolling cultivators, brush hoes, hilling discs, basket weeders, finger weeders, torsion weeders, and spring hoes can be utilized to control weeds both within and between crop rows. Electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic guidance systems are available to help reduce damage to the crop while controlling weeds very close to the crop row. Row shields can be used to prevent burying the crop while throwing soil. Timing of cultivations is critical and should be optimized based on crop and weed stage of growth, soil moisture conditions, expected irrigations or rainfall, and other field operations. Mechanical weed control is most successful when weeds are tiny and soil is not wet during or soon after cultivation.