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There are many weed control strategies used by tree fruit growers, depending on the types of weeds, area to be controlled, availability and feasibility of labor, and whether the site is under conventional or organic production practices. There are often annual and perennial weeds growing in the orchard simultaneously, in different stages of growth. Soil types, site location, and irrigation are all variables that contribute to different weed pressures for different orchard locations. Some weeds introduce themselves to certain areas of an orchard and grow in patches, and others may cover the entire orchard floor. These are some reasons why one method or product used will not control all of the weeds at a site. Successful weed management in orchards requires a year-round system combining different strategies.
The first step to controlling weeds is to understand their origins, their biology, and their evolution in agricultural and horticultural ecosystems.
Organic Tree Fruit producers generally use cultivation to manage weeds. However, weed suppressive mulches, mowing and flaming are also employed. These non-chemical techniques should be considered in rotation with chemicals in conventional programs to limit resistance and selection for specific weed classes.
For more information about chemical weed control for pome fruit and stone fruit orchards and herbicide resistance strategies visit the newly revised Crop Protection Guide.
Weed Identification Resources
General Weed Resources