Southern nursery group shows growers how to get the biggest bang for their buck with weed control

Most of us are used to seeing weeds in our yards or flowerpots, but not in the plants that we buy in the store. Nursery crop growers and workers go to great lengths to make sure that the plants we buy are weed free when we pick them up. That service comes at a great cost to the grower, however, so Joseph Neal at NC State University sought to remove some of the burden by teaching nursery owners more efficient and economical ways to weed their container plants.

Weeds are a serious problem for nursery crop growers, not just because they reduce marketability of their container plants, but also because they can inhibit plant development. Just one large crabgrass plant in a container with Japanese holly, for instance, can reduce the weight of the holly by as much as 60 percent. Nursery crop producers use between three and six applications of preemergence herbicides per year, and often must still hard weed after that. The cost of hand weeding is between $500 and $4,000 per acre per year based on labor costs. Continue reading