Current awareness about the environmental impact of intensive agriculture, mainly pesticides and herbicides, has driven the research community and the government institutions to program and develop new eco-friendly agronomic practices for pest control. In this scenario, integrated pest management and integrated weed management (IWM) have become mandatory. Weeds are commonly recognized as the most important biotic factor affecting crop production, especially in organic farming and low-input agriculture. In herbaceous field crops, comprising a wide diversity of plant species playing a significant economic importance, a compendium of the specific IWM systems is missing, that, on the contrary, have been developed for single species. The main goal of this review is to fill such gap by discussing the general principles and basic aspects of IWM to develop the most appropriate strategy for herbaceous field crops. In particular, a 4-step approach is proposed: (i) prevention, based on the management of the soil seedbank and the improvement of the crop competitiveness against weeds, (ii) weed mapping, aiming at knowing the biological and ecological characteristics of weeds present in the field, (iii) the decision-making process on the basis of the critical period of weed control and weed thresholds and iv) direct control (mechanical, physical, biological and chemical). Moreover, the last paragraph discusses and suggests possible integrations of allelopathic mechanisms in IWM systems.
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