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Review

A Review of Non-Chemical Weed Control Practices in Christmas Tree Production

1
Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, 1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2
Departments of Horticulture and Forestry, Michigan State University, 1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(5), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050554
Received: 27 April 2020 / Revised: 8 May 2020 / Accepted: 12 May 2020 / Published: 14 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
Weeds interfere with Christmas tree growth at any time and at any stage of production. Growers mostly rely on mechanical mowing and applications of herbicides for weed control in their fields. However, herbicides can be phytotoxic to non-target plants, can cause environment-related issues, and their repeated application can even cause herbicide-resistant weeds. The main objective of this manuscript is to provide a review of non-chemical weed control strategies in Christmas tree production and identify areas where current practices could potentially be improved or in which further research is required. Preventing the introduction of weed seeds requires controlling weeds along farm roads, maintaining clean equipment, and eliminating new weeds before they start seeding. Mowing helps to reduce the number of seeds produced by the weeds and can significantly reduce competition with trees. Shropshire sheep are well suited for grazing Christmas tree plantations as they prefer grazing on grasses and weeds rather than on coniferous trees. Weeds can also be controlled around Christmas trees by mulching. Organic mulch can improve soil moisture, maintain soil temperatures, enhance root establishment and transplant survival, and improve plant establishment and overall growth. Incorporating cover crops into Christmas tree plantations may improve tree growth, quality, and soil fertility and can supplement conventional nitrogen fertilizers. However, if cover crops are not properly managed, they can be highly competitive with the trees. Flaming can cause suppression of many annual weed species but is less effective on larger weeds and needs to be applied with caution. Several insects have been used as biological agents to control selective weed species. However, further research is required to focus on several potential biological agents, different types and depths of mulches, on cover crops types and their competition with different species of Christmas trees and their effects on seedling survival and growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal grazing; biological weed control; cover crops; mechanical weed control; organic mulching; weed competition animal grazing; biological weed control; cover crops; mechanical weed control; organic mulching; weed competition
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MDPI and ACS Style

Saha, D.; Cregg, B.M.; Sidhu, M.K. A Review of Non-Chemical Weed Control Practices in Christmas Tree Production. Forests 2020, 11, 554. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050554

AMA Style

Saha D, Cregg BM, Sidhu MK. A Review of Non-Chemical Weed Control Practices in Christmas Tree Production. Forests. 2020; 11(5):554. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050554

Chicago/Turabian Style

Saha, Debalina, Bert M. Cregg, and Manjot K. Sidhu. 2020. "A Review of Non-Chemical Weed Control Practices in Christmas Tree Production" Forests 11, no. 5: 554. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050554

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