Controlling Thistle and Other Noxious Weed in CRP

CRP practices often contain a diverse selection of plant species native to the area where you live. But that doesn’t mean you can let just anything grow there. As with traditional farming, weed control is an important part of establishing CRP. 

Weeds can hinder seed development, not to mention prove harmful for wildlife. If they’re not dealt with immediately and effectively, your CRP planting could fail altogether. Herbicide treatment is the primary method of eliminating weeds, but there’s something that needs to be done first. 

Identifying the Problem 

Before any herbicide is applied, the weeds should be properly identified. Different weeds have different life cycles and seeding methods. You need to apply herbicide to attack the weeds when they are most vulnerable. Of course, that won’t make much of a difference if the wrong type of herbicide is used. 

An herbicide may be very effective against one type of weed but useless against another. 

Additionally, you need to factor in the plant life you’re trying to grow around the weeds. Otherwise, you could damage the very plants you are trying to establish. The more diverse your CRP seed mix is, the more difficult this can be. 

Once you know the weeds you’re dealing with, and the appropriate herbicide has been selected, it’s time to go on the offensive. 

Applying Herbicide to Canada Thistle 

The timing for herbicide can vary between different types of weeds, as well as different CRP establishments. 

For an example, we’ll take a look at a common problem for CRP enrollees: Canada thistle.  

Canada thistle is a perennial noxious weed that’s particularly troublesome because it can spread by both seed and root shoots. Even after multiple herbicide applications, Canada thistle can survive for years.  

The first application of herbicide typically happens between March and May when the thistle rosettes appear. This allows you to kill above ground development without causing too much damage to your CRP planting. 

The next application happens right before flowering season between May and June. Depending on the height of the thistles (and other weeds around it), mowing may need to be performed beforehand. This will help stop seed from developing and spreading. 

The final application happens between September and October. This is the best time for herbicide to infiltrate the weed’s root system, minimizing its reappearance the following year.  

Spot treatments may be performed throughout the year as well to deal with specific outbreak areas. Also, before herbicide application starts, you may be prescribed a burn plan. This can be an effective way of destroying both weeds and previous crop remnants when establishing a new CRP field. 

Herbicide Selection is Very Important 

There’s more to herbicide application than hiring a CRP contractor to help spray your fields. Like most elements involved in CRP, there are restrictions on what type of herbicide is used. Ultimately, it will depend on both the type of practice you’re enrolled in, as well as the type of weed you’re combating. The wrong herbicide may prove ineffective, or it could outright kill the CRP planting you’re trying to establish 

With FDCE’s turn-key CRP services, the appropriate herbicide is selected and applied for you. We work hands on with our customers to create an effective application plan based on our extensive experience across a wealth of CRP establishments.  

We know the requirements and we have the tools necessary, so you don’t have to worry about it. Of course, that’s not all our services cover. We handle seed purchasing, planting, cost-share documentation, reporting, and more. 

Contact us today to learn what we can do for you. 

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