Ineffective weed control spraying leads to the herbicide’s failure to kill the weeds. With over 30,000 weed species worldwide, it can be tricky to eliminate weeds effectively. Therefore, we deploy several strategies to achieve the desired results.
Most ineffective weed control spraying practices are caused by either using the wrong herbicide for a particular plant and soil type or failure to follow the application requirements of the herbicide. These and many in-depth tips to follow will ensure an effective weed control spraying practice that will also be cost-effective.
Learn About The Weed Biology In Your Area
Learning about the type of weeds in the area is essential for an effective weed control spray. The behavior of these weeds, their cycles of growth, and their different reactions to the available herbicides will enable you to design an effective weed control strategy to get rid of them.
In the United States, for instance, the late summer time is when summer weeds will flower. This time, however, may be too apply to apply some herbicides, but knowing this means that you can use the appropriate herbicide instead of the common herbicides that might not work during this time. Better yet, knowing this growth pattern ensures that in the following year, you can apply herbicides that are effective before the flowering stage of the weeds.
If you fail to identify a particular weed, take a sample to your local agricultural authorities. You can also consider online sources such as plant identification databases. This extra effort will allow you to plan better and have a higher chance of designing an effective weed control spraying strategy.
Determine the Herbicide’s Selectivity
The whole point of using weed control spraying methods may be to kill the weeds without injuring the desired plants. This process can be very tricky since many herbicides are non-selective. Glyphosate, for instance, is a non-selective herbicide that is inherently toxic and wouldn’t be the best option if you want to kill weeds without injuring the plants.
Several herbicides’ selectivity, however, is determined by other factors like the depth of seeding, the plant’s stage of growth, the concentration of the herbicide absorbed by the plants, and so on. This information is usually available on the herbicide label, and you should consider it when choosing which herbicide to use in weed control efforts.
If you aren’t concerned about selective weeding, choose non-selective options. But if you are dealing with plants and weeds, you should use a herbicide, ideally, to which your plants have a high degree of tolerance while that of the weeds is low. This choice will ensure that you kill the weeds with a low degree of tolerance to the herbicide with little to no injury to the plants.
Select the Right Herbicides
For herbicides to be effective, they have application requirements that determine the herbicide you choose. These requirements may involve soil, crop, and climate restrictions you should consider for an effective weed control spraying strategy.
The most common herbicide types are preemergence, or postemergence herbicides. Preemergence herbicides are effective when used after planting before the emergence of the plants and weeds, and we apply postemergence herbicides after the emergence of the plants and weeds.
While the choice to use each herbicide type depends on the planting stage, these types also have requirements for them to work effectively. Preemergence herbicides are the trickiest because they require rainfall or irrigation to activate them. Postemergence herbicides also have a recommended maximum weed and crop size and temperature, although you may find the instructions on the product label.
Select the Right Herbicide Formulation
To effectively implement weed control by spraying, choose the suitable herbicide formulation. The formulations of herbicides you need for spraying are either emulsions or powder.
The emulsions require a liquid carrier, such as water, which must remain suspended during spraying for proper application. The powder is usually so finely ground that mixing it with water and agitating the mixture is necessary. These formulations also have information on the recommended size of nozzles, types of screens, and so on that is recommended when working with them. This information is generally available on the herbicide’s packaging.
Some herbicides like 2,4-D are available in more than one formulation. 2,4-D exists as either esters, salts, or granules. These different formulations are also essential since they are applicable in different scenarios.
The ester is effective in the case of weeds with waxy leaves or in cool weather, but it is volatile and can cause damage in hot weather. The salt, which is the non-volatile formulation, is ideal for hot weather. It is less effective than the ester and impractical during low-temperature weather conditions.
Mixing the Herbicide for Spraying
Improper mixing of the herbicide with its carrier will usually lead to either failure of the herbicide to kill the weeds, injury of the plants, or both. Therefore, ensure proper mixing with the carrier after selecting the best herbicide for the spray.
Check whether the herbicide has specific instructions on the mixing requirements for maximum effectiveness. Some herbicides do. While most herbicides will mix easily with water and have an average coverage above 15 gallons per hectare, check if the herbicide has specific carrier volumes or carrier types.
Use Proper Equipment
Even herbicide coverage on the soil surface and the plant foliage is essential for effective weed control spraying. To get this good even coverage, you need good spray equipment.
Ensure your equipment is well-maintained and properly calibrated to deliver the right amount of herbicide across the entire area. Calibration is also necessary as it involves adjusting your spraying hardware, such as the nozzle settings and spray pressure to achieve consistent coverage without over or under-spraying.
This adjustment will make your spraying efforts very effective while keeping your equipment in good condition and allow you to avoid downtimes over broken equipment. Check and ensure that the herbicide doesn’t mention specific equipment. If it does, use the specifications suggested to ensure the proper application of the herbicide.
Choose a Suitable Time
Many factors can go into choosing which time to spray the weeds. These factors can include the type of herbicide, temperature, weather conditions, and more.
When maintaining your lawn, for instance, do not spray on days hotter than 86℉ because this will add more stress to the lawn parts you don’t want to kill. Spraying on windy days is also not advisable as it risks blowing the chemicals away from the weeds and spreading them to the parts of the plants you don’t want to kill. Rainy days are also bad for most herbicides because they dilute the effectiveness of the sprayed chemicals.
For an effective weed control spray, however, it is best to apply herbicides when the target weeds are in their most vulnerable growth stage. Early growth stages offer better susceptibility to weed control measures, and evenings are a great time to spray.
Adopt Proper Spraying Techniques
While some practices, such as spot spraying, are great for beginners, they are likely to cause missing spots and over-sprayed areas, and you should avoid them when doing serious work. Adopting the proper application techniques can significantly improve the effectiveness of your weed control spraying efforts.
Apply the herbicide evenly. Use a sweeping motion to cover the entire target area. While doing this, maintain a consistent pace to avoid overlapping or leaving gaps.
Be careful to minimize or avoid contact with desirable plants to prevent accidental damage. When spraying across a large area, consider using equipment that allows precise application, such as a backpack, tractor-mounted sprayer, or a tow-behind sprayer.
Record Your Spraying Sessions
Having a detailed record of your spraying efforts will allow you to track the effectiveness of each spray. Note the herbicides used, the application rates, dates, weather conditions, and more. You will then be able to determine what works and what is not working. You can keep what works and drop what does not.
You should also regularly evaluate the results of your weed control measures to improve the effectiveness of your efforts by trying out new strategies and comparing them to previous results.
Follow Up With Your Work
Do not assume that applying chemicals will automatically kill the weeds. Sometimes the herbicides might fail to perform as expected due to several issues like weather conditions and so on.
For example, sprayed pre-plant herbicides might fail to kill already growing weeds. If left alone, the weeds will grow wild and spoil the efforts of the earlier applied preplant herbicides.
Going in with a rotary hoe will remove these early weeds and make way for planting that will have very few weeds growing.
Even in already-grown plants like a yard, weeds will grow more rapidly than the desired plants.
Following up on your work, monitoring any changes, and ensuring that the changes don’t negatively affect your work will be essential to having an effective weed control spray.