This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Soil Holds Weed Control Answers

Soil's electrical conductivity holds the answer

At Fort Collins, Colorado, United States, scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are turning to soil to promote weed control. Soil variability, an important factor in treating weed-infested land, can be gauged by measuring different soils' electrical conductivity (EC). A soil's EC assesses how easily it allows a current to pass through it. Soils with a higher EC generally have more clay and organic matter and require more herbicide. Commercial growers can use EC to create herbicide application maps, allowing them to adjust application rates based on variations within the soil. This, in turn, reduces the risk of excessive herbicide leaching while maintaining effectiveness. Though a field kit is still in the early stages of development, it is believed that it could help reduce herbicide overdose. It is doubtless only a matter of time before someone will produce a simple device so that home gardeners can discover their own soil’s electrical conductivity and reduce herbicide application to the minimum.
Photo: USDA

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