This Is My Plot – Slick Tricks for Beating Weed Competition
BY TODD AMENRUD
To some managers weeds are like the “gift that keeps on giving…you a pain in the hind-end.” Weed seeds (and occasionally root systems or rhizomes) can sometimes sit dormant for several hundred years – then we come along and change things so that it’s favorable for that nasty plant to take root. Why bother with weed control? Weeds compete with your food plot crops and will reduce production, quality and utilization to a point until you have nothing left. Sure, a few weeds aren’t going to hurt and a totally weed-free plot can be difficult to realize, but to me, weeds are my adversary and I show no mercy. The summer weed cycle is relentless so you need to learn all the “tricks of the trade” if you wish to be master over it.
Many years ago I learned a trick from my long-time friends Craig & Neil Dougherty, famous father & son whitetail managers from New York. They had a slick way of getting rid of certain weed competition growing amongst their perennials by using glyphosate. How is that possible with a “complete burn-down, non-selective, contact herbicide” like glyphosate if you’re not using Roundup Ready crops? The key word here is “contact.” They had a technique so only the targeted plants would come in contact with the powerful non-selective herbicide.
A light herbicide-soaked blanket was wrapped around the bucket of the tractor. Then they would raise the bucket so it traveled above the desired crop, yet touched the nasty, taller, faster-growing weeds. This tactic worked especially well to remove certain weeds from perennial plots, but will work whenever you have weeds that are taller than your desired crop. Annual weeds like thistle, burdock, ragweed and others that pop up fast and grow taller can be touched by the chemical, while your clovers, alfalfa and chicory hide safely below the reach of the chemical-draped bucket.
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