Sunday, January 30, 2022

Mechanical weed control

Weed control aims at only putting down the weeds present by some kind of physical or chemical means. There are four main systems of controlling weeds: Preventative (not letting weeds become established), cultural (practices like adjusting planting date that aid or deter weed development), mechanical (cultivation or hand pulling as examples), and chemical (herbicide application).

Mechanical weed control involves physically disrupting the environment around the weeds. It is mainly associated with cultivating tillage, often referred to as tertiary tillage, but also primary and secondary tillage as well as mowing and cutting have strong impacts on weeds.

Mechanical or physical methods of weed control are being employed ever since man began to grow crops. A large variety of implements are used for mechanical control of weeds, from basic hand tools to sophisticated tractor pulled or self-propelled implements. In general they are classified into two main groups: cultivating tools like hoes and harrows; and cutting tools like mowers and strimmers. For cultivating tillage only, the first group is relevant.

Mechanical tillage tools could provide an effective, environmentally safe, and sociologically acceptable method of weed control in both conventional and conservation tillage systems.

Hand hoeing may be used to control weeds in small-scale farming as it is less safe to use herbicides in home gardening due to the lack of training.

Crop and weed populations are often not uniform in the field, which challenge the use and settings of cultivators. Weeds may occur in patches of varying size, densities and growth stages; some areas may have few or even no weeds within a weedy field.

Merits of Mechanical Method
*Oldest, effective and economical method
*Large area can be covered in shorter time
*Safe method for environment
*Does not involve any skill
*Weeding is possible in between plants
*Deep rooted weeds can be controlled effectively

While there are many positive aspects of mechanical weed control, there are negative effects as well. These include
*Cost and time required that can impact other crop operations
*Lower efficacy of intra-row weed control
*Required skilled labor
*High capital cost
*Effectiveness that is highly dependent on weather and soil conditions and correct time of application
Mechanical weed control

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