Happy Thanksgiving, happy mowing and fall weed control

Friday, October 11, 2013

I've always thought of Thanksgiving as a good time to think about mowing.  Typically there have been a few hard frosts, which tends to make mowing a little bit easier. 

Here are a couple of tips to think about as you look at mowing.

1) The tighter the mow the better. Ideally you want to cut the stem off below the lowest node, this will force the plant to regrow from the rhizome. You can get away with a higher mow, but it often leads to weaker stems.
2) Avoid scalping the ground, (ie. mowing too low).  This will stress the plant, especially on heavy soils.
3) Well maintained flail mowers work best
4) If there are still a lot of leaves left on the plant, it's best to wait a bit before mowing.  If the leaves are still on the plant, it is likely still putting resources into the roots, which is a good thing for overall plant health.  A lot of leaves means the plant is still fairly active and it will be much harder to mow (means driving slower and it will require more fuel)

Chateau and Moss control
Some people are looking at Chateau for moss control.  Make sure this application is made after mowing. It is also a pretty good idea to wait a week or two after mowing, so the stems are sealed up a bit.  Chateau can be harsh on active blueberry tissue.

Many growers are also looking at controlling fescue with Kerb.  Here are a couple of observations I have made over the years that seem to optimize control.

1) If you have a problem with fescue, go full rate.
2) Spraying early is really rolling the dice.  Wait until soil temperature is decreasing below 10 degrees C.  The most successful applications are often made past mid November.
3) If you are only seeing fescue in one section of a field, spray a bit more of that area than you think you need to.  Wind, harvesters and mowers have likely spread the seed further than you can see.
4) Pre-mixing Kerb before putting it in the tank is a must!  Helps reduce clogging and allows for more uniform control.
5) Burning and Kerb in the same year could be counter productive.  In some cases a really hot burn has reduced the efficacy of Kerb in May.

Happy Thanksgiving, looking forward to seeing everyone at the AGM on November 22nd and 23rd in Truro.