One of the most common problems in food plots, especially perennials, is weed competition. Weeds rob your plot of essential nutrients, water, and root space. Given time and opportunity, weeds will quickly mature, produce seed, and overtake a well intended food plot. The use of herbicides is one of the greatest tools a wildlife manager can utilize to keep weeds under control and get the most out of your plantings. Here are a few tips to get the most from your efforts.
1. Read the lable – The information on the herbicide labels contain great info and will identify what weeds they control and what crops it is designed to protect.
2. Spray when grasses or broadleaf weeds are young and thriving. If you wait to spray when they are tall and mature, the results will often be less than desirable. If weeds are already tall and maturing, mow first and return 7-10 days later to spray the new re-growth.
3. Spray in good conditions. Cloudy and still days are best. Windy and rainy days do not make for good conditions to spray in.
4. Make sure spraying equipment is functioning properly and carry some spare spray rig parts to the field. There’s nothing worse than having a busted hose or clogged tip in the field and be without the tools to fix it.
5. Make sure to add a surfactant or crop oil when called for, many grass specific herbicides do not work well without one.
6. For optimal results, use AMS (ammonium sulfate) or add M.E.E.N Green (a water soluble fertilizer) to your tank mix when spraying selective herbicides. AMS or M.E.E.N Green will increase the effectiveness of the herbicide by helping the weeds readily trans-locate it to the roots for a good kill, at the same time it will foliar feed the plot with essential macro and micro nutrients.
7. Know the size of the fields you are going to be spraying so you can apply the appropriate amount of solution. To practice and calibrate your sprayer, find a field and measure it with a GPS or use a range finder to determine the acreage. Fill your spray tank with just water and take note of the speed you travel and the amount of water you apply over the known area. This will help take a lot of guess work on applying the correct amount. Most herbicides work best when 12-20 gallons of water are used over an acre with the appropriate herbicide.