Cultural Weed Management Practices

Cultural weed management are practices that farmers can do to help the crop be more competitive against weeds. These are essential for decreasing weed issues in row crops and helping to optimize herbicide-based programs. Increasing the crop’s vigor and competitiveness allows it to out-compete weeds and withstand existing weed pressure. Examples include maintaining optimal field nutrient availability, planting into weed-free soil, reducing row spacing, and selecting varieties that compete well. Additionally, cultural tactics also include broader farm management practices that make the field less conducive to weed pressure. Examples include crop rotation, timely scouting for weeds, cover cropping, and being aware of emerging weed problems in the area.

A fall cereal rye cover crop in October at the USDA-ARS in Beltsville, MD. It was planted as part of a project to test its ability to suppress weeds under different herbicide programs. Photo credit: Claudio Rubione

Timely scouting helps growers catch problem weeds early, when they are still small enough for herbicide applications to be effective. Photo:GROW

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Cultural control


  • Victoria Ackroyd
  • Michael Flessner
  • Kara Pittman
  • Claudio Rubione
  • Lovreet Shergill
  • Mark VanGessel
  • Steven Mirsky