Evaluation of integrated weed management techniques and their nuances in Virginia crop production


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Herbicide resistant weeds are driving implementation of integrated weed management (IWM). A new tactic to manage weeds is harvest weed seed control (HWSC), which targets weed seeds retained on the plant at crop harvest and either destroys, removes, or concentrates them. Research is limited on the effectiveness of HWSC in US cropping systems. For HWSC to be effective it is important to know when and how many seed are shed from a weed species in relation to crop harvest. Research was conducted to quantify when weed seed are shattered from 6 economically important weed species, four broadleaf (redroot pigweed, common ragweed, common lambsquarters, and common cocklebur) and two grass species (large crabgrass and giant foxtail). Results indicate that among summer annuals, broadleaf species retain larger proportions of their seed compared to grass species at the first opportunity for soybean harvest. As harvest was delayed, more seeds shattered from all species evaluated, indicating timely harvest is critical to maximizing HWSC effectiveness. Studies were conducted on grower fields in Virginia to evaluate the effectiveness of HWSC (field residue and weed seed removal). Results indicate that HWSC can significantly reduce populations of Italian ryegrass in wheat and common ragweed in soybean in the next growing season, but reductions were not observed for Palmer amaranth in soybean. Investigating IWM system for common ragweed control in soybean, HWSC was found to be less effective than soybean planting date (i.e. double cropping after wheat) at reducing common ragweed populations. However, the effectiveness of HWSC varied by location. If HWSC adoption were to become widespread, weeds could adapt by shedding seed earlier in the season. Research was conducted by growing Palmer amaranth populations from across the eastern US in a common garden. Currently there are differences in flowering time and seed shatter among Palmer amaranth populations based on the location of the maternal population, indicating potential for adaptation. This research demonstrates that HWSC is a viable option for weed management in US cropping systems but needs to be stewarded like any other weed management tool.



integrated weed management, harvest weed seed control, common ragweed, Palmer amaranth, seed shatter