Thursday, March 25, 2010

March madness: Wheat weed control options

March madness this spring has cherry trees in full bloom, and apple blossoms ready to pop open. Recent above average temperatures have hastened the arrival of spring and now wheat growers are hoping for April showers for their wheat fields. With April 1st coming just next week, growers are also facing a cutoff date of applications of some herbicides especially in Milton-Freewater and the adjacent Walla Walla Valley areas.

A quick check with MiltonFreewater fruit and grape growers today, indicates that leaves are starting to emerge on horticultural crops in the Walla Walla Valley, which raises the need for additional care to be taken as herbicide applications on wheat as other crops are ahead of “normal” development. Grapes continue to be the most sensitive crop found in the area. Herbicide drift can injure foliage, shoots, flowers and fruits. If injury is severe enough, or occurs repeatedly, it can cause reduced yield, poor fruit quality, and occasionally, vine death.

For downy brome control, Powerflex and Olympus Flex are good choices. Powerflex offers a 9 month plantback restriction which offers some flexibility in future planting decisions. Dan Ball, OSU Weed Scientist recommends a full 3.5 oz rate for a spring application of Powerflex. It has good crop safety, and while he has noted some yellowing with Powerflex under cool application conditions but he hasn’t seen this to affect yield.

For more information visit OSU Extension Cereal Central webpage.

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