Canola School: Fall weed control — your spring self will thank you!

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Despite the calendar date, many areas of the Prairies haven’t seen a killing frost this fall, which means the window for fall weed control is still open.

As producers, agronomists, and everyone in-between are surveying fields, the perennial weeds are likely getting noticed. As Leighton Blashko, technical service specialist with BASF, says, there’s still time to make some management decisions about some of the weeds — which involves thinking like a plant.

“This time of the year plants don’t have as lush and big leaves as they did in the middle of the summer, when they were putting on vegetative structures. They are thinking, well, the sun is at a certain place in the sky, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder. Maybe soon we’re going to have a frost,” he explains. “So when they’re thinking like that, they would assess that these plants are wanting to put their resources to their roots, especially when we talk about perennials like Canada thistle — it wants to survive for many more years.”

Annuals can be tougher to control at this time of the year, but Blashko says, perennials are the better target.

“We can still do something about [perennials]. So if they’re sending their carbohydrates to the roots, if they can take along with it a translocate herbicide down to the roots, you’re probably going to have very effective weed control.”

Fall weed control may seem low on the never ending before-the-snow-falls t0-do list, but controlling those weeds now can only set you up for success.

“Your control is just going to be better, but also it’s time saving. If you can manage some time — maybe it’s easy to do spot spraying. Now because you can see where they were, rather then when they’re really tiny and it’s difficult to see. So time savings, and then overall control I think can be some of the benefits of using fall weed control,” he explains.

Of course as the temperature continues to drop off into winter, it’s key not only to be reading those labels, but really understanding what they mean. Make sure you’re using the right water volume, paying attention to temperature restrictions, droplet size, weather conditions, and more will only help. Details are not so minor here!

Check out the full conversation between Blashko and RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, filmed at Red Deer, Alta., below:

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture