What is Integrated Weed Management?
Item Code: News 37
Integrated Weed Management Is coming... But what is it?
Weed management is going through a transition... the mindset is shifting from strict reliance on treating existing problems, to placing a much greater emphasis on prevention and reduction of weed emergence. In conjunction with this change, public pressure is building to reduce or even eliminate the amount of pesticides used to control weeds.
Out of this mindset change; is emerging an approach called Integrated Weed Management, which uses a holistic approach to managing weeds through Cultural, Biological, Mechanical and Chemical controls. All with a focus on Prevention.
How can you prevent a weed?
A weed is simply a plant in the wrong place. Weeds are opportunists and will grow wherever conditions allow, so we can reduce the weeds by controlling the environmental conditions to make growth less likely.
One way this can be done is by removing the soil that the weeds grow in. By sweeping we can keep hard surfaces clean and free from detritus that could decompose and become soil. By removing the soil we can greatly reduce opportunities for weed growth. Thermal weed control also comes under the mechanical umbrella. Heat can be used to prevent a seed from producing a plant. At about 70-80 degrees the cells within the seed coagulate and are no longer able to function, so seeds are rendered useless.
Cultural prevention might include anything we can use in the environment to reduce weeds, such as a membrane under gravel surfaces, which allows drainage, but prevents weeds from growing up from underneath. Other things might involve getting locals involved in keeping their own areas tidy, hedges pruned etc to prevent detritus build up. Controlling traffic flow and effective water drainage can also have an impact.
This involves the use of natural enemies to different plant types; for example deer, sheep or different types of insect can be used to control certain types of plant. Natural ecosystems are a delicate balance and introducing a predator of some kind into the chain can have great benefits to the overall ecosystem; in this case, a reduction in weeds.
Chemical prevention refers to herbicides that are applied to the plant or surface to control the growth or germination of weed species.
An integrated approach uses all or a mixture of these techniques to prevent weed growth. Different strategies work well at different times of year and an annual plan can be put in place if the specific conditions of your environment are known. Sometimes it is more appropriate for one approach to be dominant, at others a more balanced approach is required.
Check out our Surface maintenance handbook for a more in depth look;
If you would like help in planning an integrated approach to weed control please get in touch!
0118 9869 253