Developing Cover Crops for Weed Control in Establishment Year for Strawberries

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticultural Science, Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108

The goal of our program is to learn how to effectively establish first-year strawberry plantings without using herbicides. Before strawberry transplanting, four treatments were established: winter wheat, a dwarf Brassica sp., napropamide (2.24 kg·h–1) plus hand hoeing and rototilling, and no weed management. `Honeyoye' transplants were set into plots measuring 6.1 × 7.32 m on 21 May 1993 and 10 May 1994. Weekly data was taken on the percentage of soil area covered with plant material, height, and stage of development of plants, and weeds present. Weed transects and plant dry weights were done periodically during the growing seasons. The most promising cover crop treatment was the dwarf Brassica sp. for early season weed suppression because of rapid germination and short stature. Winter wheat was very competitive with the strawberry plants. The herbicide treatment had the largest inputs; however, it did produce the largest strawberry plants at the end of the season.

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