Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cultural control of weeds

Cultural control covers all activities that are designed to guarantee that the plants get the best possible growing conditions, since the best safeguard against many problems, especially physiological ones, is to ensure that plants are healthy. Cultural control is by no means new. It is only over the last fifty years that the use of chemicals has developed to such an extent, that some traditional practices have been abandoned.
Cultural control is a process where land is managed to guarantee good conditions with sustained use. If the land (soil, plants, and ecosystem) has been damaged and is "unhealthy" it is easier for invasive species to move in. Damage can occur by natural disaster (flood, fire), recreation (camping, off road vehicles), over-grazing, or farming. This control method is most often practiced on agriculture-based lands (cropland, pasture, and grazing land), but can also be used in gardens, parks, and our native woodlands.
 Cultural control combine parts of the other control methods, but focuses more on improving the "wellbeing" of the native plants. If the native plants are healthy, it is harder for a weed to become established. If a weed does become established, the native plants are better able to compete and suppress the weed's spread.
 The amount of use that an area of land receives must be monitored to prevent damage. For example, both recreation and grazing take place on much of our pasturelands and forests. Each of these land uses can cause serious damage if not controlled. The impacts and damage caused to the land depend on:
 when it is used
where it is used
how long it is used
how often it is used
how many are using the land

Removal by rotovating or digging
On uncultivated ground this is most probably the only option, if digging is used then the weeds can be buried, and that will kill most annual weeds, although not all of there seeds, Perrenial weeds especially deep rooted ones such as dandilions, will probably innevitably survive, some such as the afore mentioned have the ability to regenerate from the smallest of pieces left in the soil, another is ground elder and bind weed.

Highly specific
Damage to other plants is low
Minimal equipment cost
Anyone can do it
Labor intensive: most expensive form of weed control
No residual control
Damaged weeds can recover
• Doesn't kill most perennial weeds
Tillage: most common
Effective against a wide variety of weeds
Can only be used in crops, pastures, and some rangeland
Loss of moisture
No residual control
Increased soil erosion
Mixes seeds in soil
• Doesn't kill most perennial weeds
Mowing or Chopping
Reduced seed production
Deplete root reserve
Can kill a few plants
Not effective at killing many weeds
Has little effect on low growing plants
Burning, Heat,
or Electrocute
Fire is a natural disturbance that can revitalize some native plants
• Heating soil or manure will sterilize the seeds. For gardens or nurseries.
Fire can open up new areas for weed invasion
Removes all vegetation (non-selective)
• Doesn't kill most perennial weeds

Weeding and hand hoeing
These are the traditional methods of control and are still the most effective on cultivated ground and around plants, hoeing and hand weeding should be carried out on a regular basis whilst the weeds are small and before they seed.

This is a good option to use.Inorganic mulches such as polythene and stone chippinggs are particularly good at stopping weeds, bark chippings can also look quite atractive in an ornamental garden situation, Garden compost is best used or well rotted manure in a vegetable garden situation applyed atleast 4 inches deep, it retains moisture which means less watering, and suppresses the weeds,
Ground cover planting? intercropping
Ground cover plants can be employed in an ornamental garden although, and this is important, the ground should be totally weeded before hand, In the vegetable garden situation, close planting and intercropping can reduce and inhibit weed growth greatly by shading the ground

The use of mechanical and physical control really depends upon the type of weed and its location. Small patches of weeds can be hand-pulled and dug up, while larger populations make mowing or burning a better option. In other cases, regrowth from deep perennial roots may make mechanical and physical methods altogether ineffective.


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