The management of weedy and invasive plants is perhaps the most important task that crop producers are faced with each year. Highly advanced and efficient crop production systems used in the United States ensure that there is an abundant food supply that supports a robust economy for the nation. However, despite all the advances in agriculture, weedy and invasive plants are enemies of agriculture that persist and consistently torment crop producers every year.
Why are weedy and invasive plants such ‘good’ tormentors?
- Weedy and invasive plants are a class of plants that grow where they interfere with the activities of man and must be removed for our welfare. Within this class of plants, there are what you might call ‘regular’ weed species which crop producers are accustomed to and routinely plan for their control prior to the beginning of the growing season. For example, Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) is a weed that regularly infests most annual crops.
- There are some plant species that appear within the crop production system, somewhat out of context, and require special attention to prevent them from becoming serious problems of the future. Such a species is referred to as invasive. For example, Bengal dayflower (Commelina benghalensis) is an exotic invasive weed commonly found in peanut and cotton.
- ‘Regular’ weeds were once invasive plants that later became established weeds. Once they become established, crop producers must be prepared to manage them each year on a routine basis. Because it has invasive characteristics, a ‘regular’ weed can become invasive in new territories.
- There are some instances where ‘regular’ weeds become invasive. For instance, some weeds that were once easily controlled by the available herbicides have developed resistance to those herbicides and require new approaches, or herbicides, to control them. When the herbicide-resistant weeds invade new territory, they will be considered as invasive plants and need to be managed appropriately to prevent, or slow down, their establishment.
Regardless of the type of weedy and invasive plant problem, crop producers must manage the problem to protect their investment, produce crops in abundance, while causing no harm to humans and the environment.
Pesticides are used abundantly to ensure crops are protected and production is maximized. The most frequently used pesticides in crop production include herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. The pesticide of choice for weedy and invasive plant management is herbicide.
The desires of the public are access to a safe and secure food supply with guarantees of safety to humans and the environment. Why would safety need to be guaranteed? Because herbicides are hazardous chemicals which can cause harm to humans and the environment even when they are used properly.
Therefore, as a crop producer, selecting an herbicide must be balanced with the need to making a profit, desire for a safe food supply, safety to humans, and protecting the environment.
Guidelines for controlling weedy and invasive plants
- Weed species identification: Identify the weed species present in the crop using records of previous years. It may be impossible to determine if there are invasive and/or herbicide resistant weed species present in your crop production field unless they had previously been detected.
Understanding the biology and ecology of the identified weed: You need to know the enemy before you strike. Therefore, useful weed biology and ecology information that can help identify vulnerabilities of a weed species includes, life cycle characteristics, emergence timing, leaf characteristics, developmental stages, and reproduction.
For example, it is widely accepted that weedy and invasive plants are most vulnerable during their juvenile stages. Therefore, applying postemergence herbicides when weeds are less than six inches tall targets the stage of a weed’s life cycle when it is most vulnerable.
The biology and ecology of ‘regular’ and some herbicide resistant weeds has been documented and made available to the public. On the other hand, invasive species are poorly understood and the information on their biology and ecology is often incomplete.
- Selecting the appropriate herbicide(s): Your crop is likely going to be infested with a variety of weed species and you either select a broad spectrum herbicide or a number of herbicides you will apply in a tank mixed spray application.
Remember: Read the product label to ensure that the herbicide you select is safe to use in your crop.
- Selecting the appropriate adjuvant(s): When applying postemergence herbicides, adding an adjuvant to your spray mixture can enhance the activity of the herbicide and/or modify its physical properties. More specifically:
- Use Cide-Kick II nonionic surfactant for enhanced postemergence control of weeds. The main ingredient in Cide Kick II is d’limonene, a natural oil that is sourced from the peel of citrus fruit, like orange and lemon. Advantages of using Cide-Kick II in your postemergence weedy and invasive plant control program include:
- Reduced surface tension of spray droplets which improves the wetting of plant foliage and increases herbicide uptake.
- Breakdown of the waxy cuticle of leaf surfaces which enables more effective herbicide uptake and improved control.
- Safe for the environment because Cide-Kick II is made from a natural product.
- Helping herbicides penetrate the bud and bark area of woody brush for enhanced control.
- Nonionic properties which allow Cide-Kick II to be mixed with a variety of chemicals including other pesticides and fertilizers, in tank mixes.
- In addition to using Cide Kick II to improve control efficacy, you may need to use additional adjuvants to confront some commonly encountered problems associated with pesticide spray applications. For example:
- If you think your water source might compromise herbicide activity you will need to include a water-conditioning agent like Brewer’s Water Conditioner. The benefits of using Brewer’s Water Conditioner include, buffering the pH of the water, chelating iron, sequestering hard minerals like calcium and magnesium salts, and promoting wetting of foliage and uptake of herbicide.
- If environmental conditions may cause spray to go off-target and cause unintended damage elsewhere, consider using a drift control adjuvant like Brewer’s Poly Control 2. The benefits of using Brewer’s Poly Control 2 adjuvant include, increasing spray droplet size which increases herbicide reaching the intended target, and enhancing the retention of spray droplets on intended target.
- If you anticipate the development of foam in the spray tank that might compromise herbicide efficacy, use a defoaming adjuvant like Brewer’s Defoamer. The benefits of using Brewer’s Defoamer adjuvant include preventing foam buildup within the spray tank and reducing the potential for the development of foam during spraying to provide uniform delivery of herbicide to the target.
Are there other uses for Cide-Kick II adjuvant?
Yes. Cide Kick II adjuvant can be used as follows:
- For control of problematic woody plants. Cide-Kick II helps herbicide penetrate bark of problematic wood plants when sprays are administered as low volume basal applications or dormant brush applications.
- For control of weedy and invasive aquatic plants. Cide-Kick II helps herbicides penetrate the waxy leaf surfaces of floating and submerged weedy and invasive aquatic plants.
- For forest site preparation and conifer release. Cide-Kick II may reduce the selectivity of herbicides with over-the top applications.
- For utility rights-of way and roadside vegetation management. Cide-Kick II enhances herbicide activity in foliar applications for weedy and invasive plant management.
- For control of other pests. Cide-Kick II can increase the efficacy of insecticides, fungicides, growth regulators, and biostimulants.
Read the Label
Make sure you read the pesticide label and follow all recommended instructions.