That’s a question plenty of farmers and their crop advisers are asking as harvest continues. Weed escapes probably were more widespread in many areas this season after wet weather widely delayed herbicide applications in parts of the country.
So, does a fall burndown fit this year?
To decide, start with scouting – both during and after harvest. Also, make sure you correctly identify the winter annual weeds you do find.
Some of the most troublesome winter annual weeds in both the Central Corn Belt and parts of the South include:
“In most of the Midwest there’s a group of weed species that come up in the fall – six to ten fairly common weeds that you need to look out for,” says Dr. Aaron Hager with the University of Illinois. “Learn to identify butterweed, henbit, chickweed, marestail, purple deadnettle. Those are very common winter annuals across Illinois, Iowa and into Ohio and Indiana.”
Hager and Dr. Amit Jhala from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln also counsel that identifying your problem weeds starts at harvest. “Take notes while you’re in the combine,” says Jhala. “Based on those notes, you can plan your weed management program for the next year. And then scout in October and early November to see if you have marestail, in particular, and then look at how dense the populations are to determine whether or not you need a fall burndown application.”
To precisely identify winter annual weeds, check out these handy online weed identification tools:
Additional guides and recommendations include:
- Dr. Hager’s article “Controlling Weeds after Harvest“
- Fall-Applied Herbicides: Which Weed Species Should Be The Target?
- A new fact sheet on burndown from Nufarm.