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Competency Area 2: Weed Management

PO 15. Mechanical - Understand the advantages and limitations of mechanical control measures, especially those associated with tillage and cultivation.

Mechanical control forms:
1. Mowing
2. Burning
3. Smothering
4. Tillage - seedbed preparation and cultivation

Mechanical control can reduce or eliminate herbicides and also help control weeds that escape herbicide applications, i.e. delay or prevent development of herbicide resistant weed populations.
Sometimes there is a “cultivation effect” that is not related to weed control, i.e. cultivation may improve soil aeration, water infiltration, etc.

A timeline for mechanical control is critical. Weather and/or soil moisture conditions may prevent timely cultivation. In-row weed control is difficult with many cultivators and costs are increased due to the time, labor, and fuel.