Blueberry Fields Forever

Blueberry Fields Forever

Weeds pose a challenge to blueberry growers on a year-round basis. Proper identification of the weed species present in your field is the first step toward choosing the appropriate management tactic to employ.

Perennial weed species, such as bermudagrass, nutsedge, or smilax, often can become problems in Florida blueberry farms. If you are establishing a new field, management of perennial species ahead of planting is usually recommended to prevent them from establishing within the young bushes.
To help attain optimum yields, a management strategy is required to prevent them from competing with the crop for water, nutrients, and light.

Cultural Practices

Not all weed management tactics involve the use of herbicides. There are numerous cultural practices that are utilized by growers that help to reduce the impact of weeds on a blueberry farm.

Prevention is accomplished by stopping weed seeds or other plant parts from entering the blueberry rows and establishing new populations. Examples of this concept are preventing seed head production by weeds in areas adjacent to your crops such as row middles, roadways, ditch banks, and fence rows to reduce the chance of weed seeds and other plant parts from spreading to your field. Properly cleaning equipment before it enters the blueberry field also will help you to attain this goal.

Mulches prevent light from being available to weed seedlings that are trying to become established. Also, loose mulches maintain a relatively dry-root zone for weeds that might germinate and try to establish.

Manage water and nutrition by making both only available for the crop and reducing the amount that can be utilized by weedy plants.

Low-volume irrigation systems are an excellent means to direct water and nutrients — if using fertigation — to the crop. If you use dry fertilizer, set your equipment up to deliver the product to the blueberry root zone and not broadcast over the entire field.

Mechanical control can consist of mowing, cultivating, burning, and pulling weeds. At times, mechanical weed management by pulling or hoeing is done when applications of herbicide may contact and injure the crop.

Postemergence Herbicides

Non-selective postemergence herbicides might be used to eliminate hard-to-kill perennial weeds prior to planting a new field or re-planting an old one. Often there will be some established weeds in many fields just after harvest that may necessitate the application of one of these types of herbicides. Products containing the active ingredient glyphosate (Roundup, Monsanto and others) are some of the most common non-selective postemergence herbicides used in blueberries. This herbicide provides control of both annual and perennial grass and broadleaf weeds. It should be noted that contacting leaves, green stems, or exposed roots could lead to crop damage.

To avoid potential systemic injury from glyphosate, some growers choose to use alternative non-selective herbicide active ingredients like paraquat (Gramoxone Inteon and others) or glufosinate (Rely, Bayer CropScience). These two herbicides do not have systemic activity and thus will not provide good control of most perennial weeds.

Care must be taken to avoid contact of paraquat and glufosinate products with green stems or foliage of the crop as injury may result. Directed applications of carfentrazone-ethyl (Aim 2 EC, FMC Corp.) to avoid contact with green stems and leaves of the crop will control certain broadleaf weeds that are in the three- to six-leaf stage.

At times, blueberry growers utilize postemergence grass herbicides, such as products containing the active ingredients sethoxydim (Poast, BASF), or clethodim (Select, Arysta LifeScience), and fluazifop-butyl (Fusilade DX, Syngenta Crop Protection). It should be noted that Select and Fusilade DX are only labeled for non-bearing blueberries. These herbicides selectively control annual and perennial grasses, which tend to be more of a problem in the late spring and summer.

Preemergence Herbicides

Blueberry growers often will apply preemergence herbicides during the dormant period and/or soon after post-harvest pruning to help maintain a relatively weed-free crop. Since many preemergence herbicides have little to no effect on established weeds, one of the non-selective herbicides is often tank mixed with them. The active ingredient simazine (Princep and others) is utilized as a preemergence herbicide by some blueberry growers in Florida.

Recent University of Florida trials conducted in established blueberries in pine bark have indicated that a relatively new blueberry herbicide called Chateau (flumioxazin, Valent USA) has provided good to excellent residual broadleaf weed control. Trials conducted during the summer of 2009 indicated an older herbicide, which is touted as being relatively safe in younger plantings called oryzalin (Surflan and others), provided residual broadleaf control similar to Chateau. Having choices of preemergence herbicides available for use in blueberries is an advantage to growers. As with pest management programs designed to control insects and diseases, rotating products is a good way to avoid developing resistance to a particular herbicide in weeds.

Pesticide Labels

If herbicides are utilized for weed management in blueberries, the herbicide label is the source of all information about a particular product and what steps must be taken to legally and safely apply it.

Each herbicide label has specific instructions related to soil type, crop age, PHI, total applications, and many other instructions that must be followed when using a product. Always read the label before use and follow the directions.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Berries Stories
Andrew (left) and Steve Beilstein use an air dancer, pictured in the background, as a bird-scaring device at The Blueberry Patch in Lexington, OH.  (Photo credit: Gary Gao)
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
Workers picking in a Florida strawberry field
Berries
July 26, 2016
Wish Farms Commits $100K To Food Safety Cause
Central Florida berry operation will donate $20,000 annually over the next five years to fund various research projects backed by the Center for Produce Safety. Read More
The Pitzer Wheel, named after co-founder and inventor Bob Pitzer, is an autonomous and continuous picking wheel on an automated strawberry picker that is being developed by Harvest CROO.
Berries
July 12, 2016
Automated Strawberry Picker: One Step Closer To Reality
Company receives U.S. Patent approval for continuous picking wheel on the machine. Read More
Late-season symptoms on C. acutatum infected strawberry. (Photo credit: Oleg Daugovish, UCCE)
Berries
July 5, 2016
Scout For Anthracnose Fruit Rot In Berries
Warm weather, humidity, and rainfall create favorable conditions for this disease. Read More
SWD On Raspberry (Photo credit: Hannah Burrack)
Berries
June 6, 2016
Insect Pest Hits Southeastern Berry Growers Hard
North Carolina State researcher reminds growers they need to be proactive with spotted wing drosophila. Read More
Haskap berries (Photo credit: haskapa.com)
Berries
June 1, 2016
Growers In Canada See Bright Future For Haskap Berry
Consumers' interest in health benefits of berries helping to fuel interest in this new berry. Read More
legal justice, courts
Berries
May 4, 2016
University of California Sued Over Strawberry Breeding – Again
This time it’s a private strawberry breeding company, which says the statewide breeding program has been decimated by UC-Davis. Read More
The Latest
Berries
August 24, 2016
Researchers Unravel Genetic Ancestry Of …
A genetic analysis conducted by New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station researchers aims to improve modern cultivation efforts of strawberry growers. Read More
Berries
August 16, 2016
Wisconsin Is The Top Cranberry Producer …
State tops country, international production for the 22nd year. Read More
Berries
August 4, 2016
Genetics Key To Keeping Strawberry Growe…
Savings to the tune of $30 million a year would come with a solution to angular leaf spot. Read More
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
Berries
July 26, 2016
Wish Farms Commits $100K To Food Safety …
Central Florida berry operation will donate $20,000 annually over the next five years to fund various research projects backed by the Center for Produce Safety. Read More
Berries
July 12, 2016
Automated Strawberry Picker: One Step Cl…
Company receives U.S. Patent approval for continuous picking wheel on the machine. Read More
Berries
July 5, 2016
Scout For Anthracnose Fruit Rot In Berri…
Warm weather, humidity, and rainfall create favorable conditions for this disease. Read More
Berries
June 6, 2016
Insect Pest Hits Southeastern Berry Grow…
North Carolina State researcher reminds growers they need to be proactive with spotted wing drosophila. Read More
Berries
June 1, 2016
Growers In Canada See Bright Future For …
Consumers' interest in health benefits of berries helping to fuel interest in this new berry. Read More
Berries
May 4, 2016
University of California Sued Over Straw…
This time it’s a private strawberry breeding company, which says the statewide breeding program has been decimated by UC-Davis. Read More
Berries
April 27, 2016
New Herbicide For Tomatoes, Strawberries
The product from Helm Agro US is registered to control more than 100 broadleaf, grass, and sedge species. Read More
Berries
April 19, 2016
Graduate Student Wins Prize For Space St…
Growth chambers could be the future of small fruit and vegetable production in space. Read More
Berries
April 1, 2016
Strawberry Greenhouse Wins Sustainabilit…
Unusual — for strawberries — British retractable roof greenhouse gets top honor from one of the largest retail chains. Read More
Berries
March 31, 2016
New Report Highlights Farmworker Opportu…
Extensive labor standards, on-the-job training, and strong work ethic create upward mobility. Read More
Berries
March 31, 2016
Breeding For The Ideal Fresh Blueberry
While sweetness might be the top attraction for consumers, a new study found poor texture was their biggest turnoff. Read More
Berries
March 30, 2016
Fighting Phytophthora In Blueberries
The authors of a recently published study have identified which blueberry cultivars you might want to consider planting in certain soils. Read More
Berries
March 29, 2016
Mechanization In The Berry Patch Can Mak…
Mechanical harvesters could be more of a necessity than a luxury for many fruit growers. Read More
Berries
March 27, 2016
Use Common Sense Growing Berries That Ar…
Follow these tips to ensure your end product is wholesome and pathogen-free. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]