Mechanical or physical methods of weed control

Mechanical or physical methods of weed control are being employed ever since man began to grow crops. The mechanical methods include tillage, hoeing, hand weeding, digging cheeling, sickling, mowing, burning, flooding, mulching etc.

1. Tillage

Tillage removes weeds from the soil resulting in their death. It may weaken plants through injury of root and stem pruning, reducing their competitiveness or regenerative capacity. Tillage also buries weeds. Tillage operation includes ploughing, discing, harrowing and leveling.

2. Hoeing

Hoe has been the most appropriate and widely used weeding tool for centuries. It is however, still a very useful implement to obtain results effectively and cheaply. It supplements the cultivator in row crops.

3. Hand weeding

It is done by physical removal or pulling out of weeds by hand or removal by implements called khurpi, which resembles sickle. It is probably the oldest method of controlling weeds.


4. Digging

Digging is very useful in the case of perennial weeds to remove the underground propagating parts of weeds from the deeper layer of the soil.

5. Sickling and mowing

Sickling is also done by hand with the help of sickle to remove the top growth of weeds to prevent seed production and to starve the

underground parts. It is popular in sloppy areas where only the tall weed growth is sickled leaving the root system to hold the soil in place to prevent soil erosion.

6. Burning

Burning or fire is often an economical and practical means of controlling weeds. It is used to

  1. dispose of vegetation
  2. destroy dry tops of weeds that have matured
  3. kill green weed growth in situations where cultivations and other common methods are impracticable.

8. Flooding

Flooding is successful against weed species sensitive to longer periods of submergence in water. Flooding kills plants by reducing oxygen availability for plant growth. The success of flooding depends upon complete submergence of weeds for longer periods.

Merits of Mechanical Method

  1. Oldest, effective and economical method
  2. Large area can be covered in shorter time
  3. safe method for environment
  4. Does not involve any skill
  5. Weeding is possible in between plants
  6. Deep-rooted weeds can be controlled effectively

Demerits of Mechanical Method

  1. Labour consuming
  2. Possibility of damaging crop
  3. Requires ideal and optimum specific condition

 

Mechanical weeders

Dry Land Weeder

It is used for weeding in row crops for removing shallow-rooted weeds. It has been designed ergonomically for easy operation. Useful in dryland and gardenland crops and is ideal at a soil moisture content of 8 to 10 percent. At the extreme end of the arm 120 mm diameter star wheel is fixed. A cutting blade is fitted to the arm 200 mm to the back of the star wheel the star wheel facilitates easy movement

of the tool. The operating width of the blade is 120 mm. Ideal to remove shallow-rooted weeds. The workable moisture content has to be 8 to 10

%.

Power rotary weeder

For mechanical control of weeds in crops such as sugarcane, tapioca, cotton, tomato and pulses whose rows spacing is more than 45 cm. The rotary weeder consists of three rows of discs mounted with 6 numbers of curved blades in opposite directions alternatively in each disc. These blades when rotating enable cutting and mulching the soil. The width of coverage of the rotary tiller is 500 mm and the depth of operation can be adjusted to weed and mulch the soil in the cropped field.

Tractor drawn weeding cum earthing up equipment

For weeding and intercultural operations in between row crops in a single pass an inter cultivator cum earthing up equipment was developed and fitted to a standard tractor drawn ridger. Three number of sweep type blades are affixed to the ridger frame for accomplishing the weeding operation in between standing rows of crops. Three ridger bottom fitted behind the sweep blade, work on the loosened soil mass and aid in earthing up by forming ridges and furrows. Weeding efficiency is 61 per cent.

Tractor operated multi row rotary weeder

For weeding and intercultural operations in between row crops like sugarcane, cotton, maize, etc. in a single pass the multi row rotary weeder consists of a set of cutting blades, which penetrate in to the soil, removing the weeds in the crop rows. The cutting blade has also been used as an inclined plane for elevating and converging the soil. The rotating blades are used to cut the weeds and pulverizing the soil. Weeding efficiency is 71 per cent.

Cono weeder

For weeding between rows of paddy crop the cono weeder has two conical rotors mounted in tandem with opposite orientation. Smooth and serrated blades mounted alternately on the rotor uproot and burry weeds because the rotors create a back and forth movement in the top 3 cm of soil, the cono weeder can satisfactorily weed in a single forward pass without a push pull movement. It is easy to operate by a single

operator. The weeder does not sink in puddled soil. Field capacity 0.18 ha/day. Star, Peg type and Twin hoe wheel weeding.

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