Weed Management in Cranberries: A Historical Perspective and a Look to the Future
Integrated weed management (IWM) has been part of cranberry cultivation since its inception in the early 19th century. Proper site and cultivar selection, good drainage, rapid vine establishment, and hand weeding are as important now for successful weed management as when the industry first started. In 1940, Extension publications listed eight herbicides (e.g., petroleum-based products, inorganic salts and sulfates) for weed control. Currently, 18 herbicides representing 11 different modes of action are registered for use on cranberries. Nonchemical methods, such as hand weeding, sanding, flooding, and proper fertilization, remain integral for managing weed populations; new tactics such as flame cultivation have been added to the toolbox. Priority ratings have been developed to aid in weed management planning. Despite many efforts, biological control of weeds remains elusive on the commercial scale. Evaluation of new herbicides, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), image analysis, and precision agriculture technology; investigation of other management practices for weeds and their natural enemies; utilization of computational decision making and Big Data; and determination of the impact of climate change are research areas whose results will translate into new use recommendations for the weed control of cranberry.