Grassland management is often overlooked for new leys, but by prioritising weed control early during establishment, you will achieve cost-effective, long-lasting control, resulting in higher yields of grass.
How To Get The Weeds Under Control
The key is to get weeds under control while they’re just seedlings, to give the new ley a clean start and remove weed competition which can result in gappy swards. Generally, the most effective time to apply herbicide treatments is when the weeds are at the two to four leaf stage and once the grass (and clover if present) is large enough to be sprayed. By applying an early herbicide treatment, an extremely high level of dock control can be achieved, better than at any other later timing during the life of the ley. For established swards, the focus is on perennial weeds such as docks or thistles, and on invasive annual weeds such as chickweed. When targeting perennial weeds, it’s important to remember the fundamental principles of weed control.
- To kill the weed, we must get a lethal dose into the root
- The weed must have sufficient healthy, green leaf area to take up the chemical applied
- The plant must be in active growth to move the chemical from the leaf down into the root
Correct product choice, an appropriate rate and timely application are crucial. ‘Clover-safe’ herbicides can be usefully employed, but the number of suitable products is reducing. When there is a particularly challenging weed problem, it may be advisable to forget about saving the clover and use more effective ‘non-clover-safe’ products. It is a straightforward process to re-establish clover at a later date. Early treatment not only allows you to get on top of weeds but also allows the new sward to get a good, clean start without weed competition, so sown species persist for longer. The approach needs to be field-specific and product choice is important, so talk to one of the Wynnstay agronomists, who can advise on the best plan of attack.