Survey Weeds: Preplant to Planting

Young yellow nutsedge plant.

Start surveying your fields for weeds in January on a field-by-field basis. Adjacent fields may have very different weed populations due to cropping history or soil type. Identify, monitor, and record the weeds you see, and continue through crop emergence, early squaring, and preharvest. Note how weed populations change over time. Weed surveys help you select herbicides, rotational crops, and cultural practices.

Weeds seen during the early part of the preplant through planting season include many winter annual weeds, established as early as September and October, that grow in fallow beds. Summer annuals may start germinating close to planting time.

How to survey your fields

  1. Walk through each field in a random pattern, rating the degree of infestation for each weed species on your weed survey form (PDF). Use either a numeric scale or rate as "light," "medium," or "heavy."
  2. Check fencerows, ditch banks, and field edges, paying particular attention to perennial weeds. Note the dominant species on the monitoring form.
  3. Sketch a map of the field and mark areas with where major weed infestation.

Important links

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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