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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ORGANIC AND REDUCED INPUT FRESH MARKET SPECIALTY CROP PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS Title: Weed control

Author
item Webber, Charles

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2011
Publication Date: February 27, 2012
Citation: Webber III, C.L. 2012. Weed control. In: Russo, V.M., editor. Peppers: Botany, Production and uses. Cambridge, MA: CABI. p. 189-202.

Interpretive Summary: Weed control is a major challenge in conventional and organic production systems and an essential aspect of successful pepper production. Lack of weed control can result in the total yield loss due to weed competition and weeds can be a reservoir, for pathogens through disease and insect damage. Weed control should be considered a continuous endeavor not just a seasonal effort. It is more cost effective to prevent an infestation than eliminating a weed species once the production area is infested. Weed control should start in the previous crop, by monitoring, controlling, and managing the weeds. Successful weed management uses a multifaceted approach (rotating crops and herbicides, cover crops, mulches, cultivation) rather than relying solely on herbicides to control weeds. Knowing which weeds will be present and understanding their growth habits will enable the producers to achieve greater weed control by appropriate application of the weed control methods.

Technical Abstract: Uncontrolled weeds in pepper can result in the total loss of the crop, or make harvest not economically feasible. Weed control is a major challenge in conventional and organic production systems. Agricultural weed control costs the U.S. economy more than the cost of insect and disease control combined. Weed competition decreases crop yields by an average annual cost of $33 billion and weed control activities cost up to $6 billion. Organic farmers ranked weed management research as their top priority. Weeds can reduce crop growth and yields due to two major processes, competition and allelopathy. Weed control should be considered a continuous endeavor not just a seasonal effort. It is more cost effective to prevent an infestation than eliminating a weed species once the production area is infested. Weed control should start in the previous crop, by monitoring, controlling, and managing weeds. Successful weed management uses a multifaceted approach (rotating crops and herbicides, cover crops, mulches, cultivation) rather than relying solely on herbicides to control the weeds. Knowing which weeds will be present and understanding their growth habit will enable the producers to achieve greater weed control by appropriate application of many weed control methods.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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