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Clear Orchard Middles of Weeds to Prepare for Harvest

May 14, 2019
This agronomic image shows almond orchards

Weeds compete with almond trees for nutrients and water, which is a valuable resource in the CA agriculture landscape. They can also influence the presence of other pests such as vertebrates, insects, mites, nematodes and diseases.

Weeds on the orchard floor can also hinder harvest methods. Hull split is the time to treat weeds before it gets too late in the season. Here are some helpful tips for hull split week treatments:

  • Scout orchards and properly identify the kinds of weeds that are present, as the efficacy of different herbicides varies with different plant species. Also, track weeds and their locations to identify changes in populations earlier.
  • To reduce the seedbank, ensure that timing of weed treatments occurs before seed set of key weeds. Mowing right before harvest means most weeds will have set seed; harvest activities will spread those seeds around.
  • Consider mowing or tillage/cultivation within the middles to reduce some herbicide use. Weeds in the center of the rows make harvest difficult, as that is the prime location where nuts are shaken and picked up.
  • Incorporate herbicides with different modes of action in both pre- and post-emergent herbicide sprays, like Broadworks®, to combat particularly troublesome weeds. Rotate or tank-mix herbicides with different modes of action whenever possible to reduce the risk of herbicide-resistant weed development and preserve herbicide effectiveness. Broadworks is an ideal tank-mix partner because its single active ingredient, mesotrione, fits in well with other modes of action.

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