410 Biologically Based Weed Control in Strawberry

in HortScience

Lack of effective weed control is the major limiting factor in strawberry production. With few herbicides labeled for use in this perennial crop, weeds are controlled using manual labor, cultivation, and one or two herbicide applications. However, these practices do not provide long-term, effective weed control, and weeds continue to be the number one reason why strawberry fields are removed from production due to a reduction in yield. The objective of this study was to evaluate weed control during strawberry plant establishment using woven woolen mats and spring-sown canola. The effects of these mulches on weed control and strawberry plant production were studied independently and in tandem. Weed and daughter plant counts were compared among treatments to test for differences. Wool mulch, both single- and two-ply, was an effective barrier to weeds within the strawberry rows. Planting canola between rows or broadcasting in combination with the wool mulch decreased the number of weeds when compared to other treatments. The four treatments that included wool had the highest number of rooted daughter plants when compared to all the other treatments except the weed-free plot. The canola treatments without wool mulch did not produce as many rooted daughter plants and were not statistically different from the weedy-check.

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