Cultural Weed Management Practices

Cultural weed management practices are things the producer can do that help the crop be more competitive against weeds. These are essential for decreasing weed issues in row crops and helping to optimize herbicide-based programs. Increasing the crop’s health and competitiveness allows it to out-compete weeds and withstand existing weed pressure. Examples include maintaining optimal field nutrient availability, planting into weed-free soil, altering row spacing, and selecting varieties that compete well.Additionally, cultural tactics also includes broader farm management practices that make the field less conducive to weed pressure. Examples include timely scouting for weeds, cover cropping, being aware of new weed problems in the area, and creating a stale seed bed.


A fall cereal rye cover crop in October at the USDA-ARS in Beltsville, MD. It was planted as part of a project to test its ability to suppress weeds under different herbicide programs (Photo: GROW).










Timely scouting helps growers catch problem weeds early, when they are still small enough for herbicide applications to be effective. Photo:GROW






Cultural practices that help target problem weeds

Scouting for weeds

Cover cropping for weed suppression

Plant Into Weed-Free Fields

Crop Variety Selection

Optimizing Soil Fertility to Promote Competitive Crops

Row Spacing

Crop Rotations