Many options for melon weed control

UCANR Cooperative Extension by Amber Vinchesi-Vahl, Colusa County

Every year, 300-800 acres of fresh market honey dew, mixed melons and melons are grown in Sutter County. The fields differ between furrow irrigation and drip irrigation, and many fields in the Satter Basin receive only pre-irrigation.

Melons grow so rapidly that they are competitive with weeds, and a single cultivation may be sufficient to control weed problems. Melon’s growing habits reduce the need for herbicides, and it is fortunate that the availability of registered and effective herbicides is limited.

Generally, in Sutter County, fields are cultivated, pre-irrigated, reworked, and melons are planted in damp areas. When weed pressure is high, manual crew members come and grow. Herbicides may not work well without water and may not be very effective, as many traditional fields in the northern region receive very little water. If water is available, you can use herbicides such as Prefar and Curbit.

Benthlide (prefer) can be applied before planting and incorporated shallowly, or as a pre-germination herbicide under sprinkler irrigation. It is used to control small seed annuals, amaranth and purslane. Always check the label and remember to consider plant back restrictions, especially when using corn or sorghum. After thinning when the melon plant is young (4-5 leaf stage), the Etalfurin (Curbit) ray-by application can also be used to control late germination weeds.

In 2017, a pest control adviser received a farm call about overgrown weeds in a honeydew field that he had never seen in his long career in a melon field. He applied Setoxydim (Poast) twice and the grass (johnsongrass) is back. Moisture stress on the grass can reduce the effectiveness of setoxydim. This makes sense in melon fields where there is little irrigation. Many options for melon weed control

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