Flame cultivation promising as weed control method for cranberry

Recent interest in reducing chemical inputs into cranberry growing systems has led researchers to evaluate alternative methods such as flame cultivation as a potential nonchemical weed control option.

University of Massachusetts researchers designed a study using flame cultivation techniques for weed control in cranberry crops. The results, published in the July 2013 issue of HortScience, showed promise for integrating the weed control technique into "certain situations", including organic farming. 

The team tested three types of handheld propane torches (one open flame and two styles of infrared torches) and varying exposure times on several species of perennial weeds. The experiments determined that flame cultivation could be integrated as a sustainable and economical approach for weed control in some situations. 

"This technology could be applicable for conventional production as well as organic production, and would ideally be used as a spot treatment for weeds growing in the cranberry canopy as well as on larger non-production areas where cranberry vines are not as abundant, such as bed edges, ditches, and dikes," the researchers concluded.

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