Spring is upon us throughout the Okanagan and with it, comes the growing season. As our growers start to prepare their orchard and vineyard for the upcoming growing season, one of the biggest areas of question is weed control. Growers turn to us to ask what measures can be taken to prevent certain species of weeds from spreading throughout their orchard and vineyard.
Weeds that are difficult to control create competition for your tree fruit and weed control is especially important in the beginning of the growing season, now to be specific. Perennial weeds such as quack grass and mountain brome grass need to be eradicate the year prior to the next growing season. Firstly, let’s look at some key benefits of weed control:
- Controlling the growth of all other vegetation around a plant, including weeds, promotes growth
- All vegetation within the same area will compete for nutrients and moisture from the soil. Heavy weed growth in a certain area adds extra stress on your crops, often resulting in stunted growth
Weed control processes often include a combination of mechanical methods, such as cultivation and chemical methods (spraying pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides) but it’s important to be flexible in your approach. Eradicating weeds completely is a challenging task, as their life cycle differs from regular tree fruit, but taking the correct preventative measures can help to manage them and their growth. The actions taken are influenced by multiple different factors:
- Weed species and density
- Crop age and arrangement
- Irrigation systems
- Available equipment, labour and skills
- Available time
One of the best approaches, as mentioned, is to spray pre-emergent at the beginning of the growing season. Certain tank mixes are registered and printed on the product label and should be followed as closely as possible. Use a calibrated spray to avoid over spraying and keep adjusting your weed control program to reduce chemical resistance.
This leads us to the next point. What should you be spraying and in what quantities? Our growers support team recommends 4 top products that can be sprayed now, to help control weeds:
|For use on pome and stone fruit group
|Annual grass and broadleaf weeds
|Must be sprayed on seeds and seedlings prior to emerging. See label and production guide for detailed instructions
|For use on bearing and non bearing pome and stone fruit
|Selected grass and broadleaf weeds. It controls common groundsel
|Does not leach or volatilize from soil but does breakdown with microbial activity. See label and production guide for detailed instructions
|For use on bearing and non-bearing apples and pears
|Most annual broad leaved weeds, annual grasses, perennials starting from seed
|Apply before seeds germinate. Apply to moist soil or irrigate after application. Use once a year, over application can cause damage. See label and production guide for detailed instructions
|For use on bearing and non bearing apples, apricots, cherries and peaches
|Most annual grasses and selected annual broad-leaf weeds
|Weeds are controlled as they germinate. See label and production guide for detailed instructions.
It is important to correctly identify a suspected weed before taking any action against it. Application timing and conditions is key and should be followed as closely as possible. For specific application timings and spray schedules, please visit the BC Tree Fruit Production Guide and be sure to always read the product label before purchasing as there may be limitations of use.
We’re here to help and for any assistance on product use and weed control please reach out to your Growers Supply Co. grower support team.