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Evaluation of New Cultivation Tools for Weed Control in Newly Planted Strawberries 1998

Project Leaders: Robin Bellinder, Marvin Pritts

Objectives:

1. Determine whether any of three new cultivation implements is effective at providing weed control in strawberry fields in the planting year.

2. Determine how strawberry plants respond to repeated cultivation compared to standard weed management approaches.

3. Compare the economics of a standard weed management program to one that incorporates new cultivation tools.

Results:

Herbicide-only plots had 40 times more weeds than the plots cultivated by either the brush hoe or the finger weeder. The additional cost of using these implements can be recovered if yields are increased by at least 3% over the herbicide-only treatment. Given the likelihood that this will occur because of the significant reduction in weeds, we believe that the brush hoe and finger weeder will provide economic alternatives to standard cultivation and herbicide use in new strawberry plantings.

The flextine harrow did not prove to be a good alternative. It required four passes, and weed seed germination appeared to be promoted by it. A standard Rototiller supplemented with handweeding within rows effectively controlled weeds throughout the season, but this practice was among the most expensive.