Dear readers, in several articles we have developed and will continue to develop content related to the general characteristics of some species of weeds, information that can be useful for producers and students of agricultural sciences, since identifying these types of plants can facilitate the decisions to be made regarding their management or control. In that sense, this publication will show some methods that can be used to control plants that are considered weeds because they interfere negatively in the productive activities of agroecosystems.
The following are the best known methods applied in agricultural production systems.
- Mechanical control: this type of control was widely used by our ancestors, here you can implement some practices such as hand weeding, is the oldest and most economical technique, which is currently more feasible in very small areas such as flower beds or productive yards, because its application in large areas requires a lot of time and money, when applying a manual control the ideal is to remove the root system of the plant to prevent it from resprouting.
On the other hand, it is also possible to implement controls with tools such as machetes, scythes among other sharp elements to cut the plants, when this type of control is applied there is the possibility that the root system of the plant remains, which ensures a future regrowth, especially if they are of species of the grass family, in this case after cutting the plant, herbicides can be applied in the open wound of the stem so that it moves through the vascular bundles (xylem and phloem) and thus affect the various organs of the plants.
Also within the mechanical control, agricultural implements are used, such as the rotary tiller, which is used when the land is to be prepared to cut any herbaceous plant; this implement is coupled to the tractor and has some kind of blades that rotate circularly and cut the weeds as the tractor moves forward. Other implements that generate a control effect are the plow and the harrow when they are used to prepare the soil, since the vegetative parts of the plants are exposed to the sun and dehydrate when the soil is turned over.
- Physical control: it has been evidenced in some agricultural production units that burning is used as a physical control of weeds, especially in forage areas, it is undoubtedly an economic activity, but it represents a means of contamination for the environment, also the remains of the harvest can be left as a means of coverage to prevent the entry of the sun and thus interfere in the germination process.
- Biological control: in this type of control, cover crops could be incorporated, such as the use of creeping legumes like arachis pintoi, which can be established in the medium and long term and cover the soil surface, avoiding the direct entry of solar radiation and competing with these undesirable species.
- Chemical control: it is one of the most implemented controls at present, it consists of the use of synthetic products containing substances that cause certain effects and imbalances in weeds, the problem at present its use is excessive which causes an imbalance in the ecosystem and possible contamination of natural resources such as water, the idea is to use them when the levels of weed infestation exceed the economic threshold, for its use there are some specifications to be followed, which will be clarified in depth in future publications.
Dear readers, weed control is one of the most used agronomic practices in agricultural systems, since these plants are part of the natural ecosystem, therefore, they adapt to the soil and climatic conditions of the area, In livestock systems where electric fences are used to delimit pastures, certain plants can interfere with the proper functioning of the fences, which is why non-selective herbicides are generally used, i.e. herbicides that affect any type of plant, including pastures that can interfere with the proper functioning of the electric fence system.
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