COMPETITION CONTROL FOR CRP
Competition control is the key to establishing a successful CRP planting. CRP plantings are slow to establish and cannot tolerate shading or competition for moisture. Native plants devote most of their energy the first growing season to establishing a root system, but only have minimal top growth. If the plants cannot get to the sunlight, they will die.
The first thing you should do is a site assessment and a botanical inventory of the selected site. This will help to determine what weed species are likely to be present on your site. Once you know what weeds you are trying to eradicate, then you can plan your herbicide treatments. The herbicides needed may vary greatly depending on what weeds you have. We recommend that you speak to an herbicide dealer or seek professional help from a certified applicator to help recommend a treatment for your weeds.
Steps for Controlling Competition for CRP Plantings:
- Herbicide treat warm season weeds such as foxtail and crabgrass prior to seed formation in the year prior to establishment. If this is not possible, then use a pre-emergent herbicide such as Plateau® to help suppress germination so that your native planting will have a chance to get started.
- In the fall prior to the establishment year, remove as much vegetation and thatch as possible from the site by burning, haying, grazing, or mowing. If this is not possible due to timing or program restrictions in the fall, then removal of the thatch should be done in the spring. DO NOT remove thatch from slopes until spring to help control erosion.
- A follow-up herbicide treatment should be done in the spring once the cool season plants regrow to about 6". This burndown may be done in the previous fall if the desired planting area is expected to be wet in the spring. If the field you are planting into had beans or corn, a complete herbicide burndown may not be necessary. If erosion is a concern, we recommend using oats as a cover crop.
- Seven to ten days prior to seeding, a combination herbicide treatment should be applied. This herbicide treatment should include a selected burndown herbicide to kill any remaining cool season weeds and any warm season weeds that have emerged prior to seeding. In addition, this treatment should include 6-8 ounces of Plateau® to suppress the germination of any warm season weed seeds.
- Plant with only high-quality, weed-free native seed. This will dramatically reduce the weed problems and increase the chances for establishing a successful CRP planting.