New publication can help us understand weed seedbank dynamics
July 16, 2008
BOZEMAN, MT – Although there is an old saying that “one year’s seeding makes seven years’ weeding,” farmers don’t always pay much attention to the importance of managing weed “seedbanks.”
The weed seedbank is the reserve of viable weed seeds on and in the soil. The study of seedbanks is a relatively new but promising area of weed science, and a new publication from Montana State University Extension describes the dynamics of seedbanks in a way that can help agricultural producers deal with them.
The seedbank consists of both weed seeds recently shed and older seeds that have persisted in the soil for several years.
“Not only do these seeds represent a history of past successes and failures in weed management decisions,” says Fabian Menalled, MSU Extension cropland weeds specialist, “they have the potential to create future weed problems.”
Menalled, who authored the publication, adds that understanding the dynamics of the weed seedbank can help producers predict the degree to which crop-weed competition will affect crop yield and quality and is a vital step in the development of integrated weed management.
The publication “Weed Seedbank Dynamics and Integrated Management of Agricultural Weeds” MT200808AG, is available for free download at http://www.msuextension.org/publications/AgandNaturalResources/MT200808A
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G.pdf. It describes what happens with weed seeds after they are shed from the parent plant, discusses the importance of minimizing weed seedbank inputs and provides simple strategies to manage weed seedbanks in agricultural settings. This publication is also available from MSU Extension Publications, PO Box 172040, Bozeman, MT 59717-2040.
For more information on managing agricultural weeds visit the MSU cropland weed management website at http://www.ipm.montana.edu/CropWeeds, contact your county or reservation MSU Extension office, or Fabian Menalled, the MSU crop land weed specialist, at (406) 994-4783 or firstname.lastname@example.org.