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  • black-grass and wheat
    in

    Black-grass: the farmer’s nemesis

    Visit an arable farm in England, particularly in its central and Southern parts, and ask the farmer what their number one problem is on their farm. They will most likely tell you it is black-grass. More

  • Image: Wikimedia Commons.
    in

    Scaring the crows…

    One way of increasing crop productivity is to increase the amount of grain or other harvestable product that is actually harvested from the plant. To that end scarecrows  were invented by human beings, although their success in that regard is inconsistent at best (is there a scientific study on the effectiveness of scarecrows just waiting […] More

  • Image: Wikimedia Commons.
    in

    Arabidopsis must die(?)

    It looks like somebody has taken the Danish advice to obliterate weeds in my previous item too far in producing a list of ‘The top 10 ways to kill arabidopsis’. Now, I know that for many of us Arabidopsis is a weed (after all its common name is l’herbe mauvais – allegedly – in French), […] More

  • Image: From the Synopsis of Histories by John Skylitzes, 12th century.
    in

    Extreme thermal weed control

    Ever mindful that we ought to pursue environmentally friendlier methods where at all possible, I’ve been scouring the literature on your behalf. Well, a search for a ‘greener’ method of weed control may have ended with Anne Merete Rask’s recently defended University of Copenhagen (Denmark) PhD thesis entitled ‘Non-chemical weed control on hard surfaces: an […] More

  • Smoking out weeds with karrikinolide
    in

    Smoking out weeds with karrikinolide

    Karrikinolide (KAR1) is a smoke-derived chemical that can trigger seeds to germinate, and shows promise as a tool for flushing out weed seeds from the soil seed bank. Long et al. demonstrate that weeds of Brassicaceae are particularly responsive to KAR1, and that  these responses are complex and transient: light and temperature conditions, dormancy state and seed lot […] More