In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, orchard weed control programs are beginning a little earlier than last year thanks to the recent set of storms that came through California. The wet weather has already increased the presence of winter annual weeds compared to this time last year.
“What that’s going to do is really intensify the need for a good burndown product in the tank with the residual herbicide so that you get effective control of what is already emerged as well as that residual, or long-lasting control,” said Manager of Field Development for Valent USA Pat Clay. “Make sure that sprayer is well calibrated to deliver the amount of product that you want to deliver. Make sure you’re getting good coverage on the berms…so that you’re getting the biggest benefit out of the herbicide that you’re applying.”
For growers who may be dealing with timing issues caused by wet conditions, Clay noted there is ample time to get the necessary materials applied in the fields. “Most of the residuals can be applied all the way up to bud break in the spring and still give you that long-lasting residual control of some of the late-emerging winter annuals, or the spring annuals that start to emerge as the trees are blooming,” said Clay.
As growers get their orchard weed control programs going, Clay highlighted the importance of basic management methods such as understanding which weeds are most problematic and alternating materials from season to season to lower the incidence of herbicide resistance. “Weed identification is one of the pillars of a successful weed control program. Many of these herbicides are very broad spectrum but they do have weaknesses, so knowing the mix of weeds that you have is critical for developing that ideal program,” Clay noted.