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Use fall burndown treatment to beat tough weedsUse fall burndown treatment to beat tough weeds

Several winter annuals will actually germinate in September and October, so fall burndown can prevent weed troubles for the next growing season.

Curt Arens

September 1, 2016

2 Min Read

Producers all know the value of a fall burndown herbicide treatment in fighting tough weeds into the next growing season. University of Nebraska Extension integrated weed management specialist Stevan Knezevic says that a key component in fighting herbicide-resistant marestail is fall or spring burndown treatments. In many cases, producers say that they can tell where they sprayed in the fall down to the row during the following growing season.


Winter annuals start growing in the fall, including some tough weeds like marestail, Knezevic says. “Seeds of winter annuals like tansy mustard, field pennycress, henbit, shepherdspurse and marestail can germinate as early as September, and start growing under the corn or soybean canopy,” Knezevic says. “Their rosettes can green up easily under the crop canopy because there is enough light penetrating the crop as the crop leaves start senescing in September and October. Therefore, rosettes can be seen during soybean and corn harvest.”

Fortunately, the rosettes are easy to control with fall-applied herbicides, especially for marestail. “The key is to apply at least four to five days before cold weather hits,” Knezevic says. “Most post-herbicides require a minimum of 50 degrees F at night and 60 degrees in the daytime for four or five days in order to translocate well within the plant,” he explains. “Several herbicide options are available for fall burndown in both corn and soybeans.”

An example would be 2,4-D plus dicamba, which Knezevic says can provide 80% to 90% control of rosettes with no crop rotation restrictions. For other herbicide options, he suggests checking the tables of “Weed Response to Fall Burndown Herbicides” in the corn and soybeans sections of the 2016 UNL Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska.

About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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