Meaning Of Weed
A weed is any plant that grows where it is not expected to grow, Especially where it is presence constitutes in nuisance to man’s livestock or crops.
This Weed is a plant that grows out of the place.
Reasons For Weeding
1. Weeds compete with crops for nutrients space, water and light.
2. They reduce crop yield if they are unchecked.
3. Sometimes Weeds host pests and disease causing organisms.
4. Weeding increase the cost of farm operation.
5. Weed reduce the quality of animal produces, such as milk because they impact bad odour and taste to their produces.
Characteristics Of Weeds
1) Long Dormancy: Weeds have long period of viability. The fruits and seeds can remain dormant for a long time, especially during the dry season, but germinate when condition is favourable.
2) Production Of Large Number Of Seeds: A single Weed can reduce a large number of seeds and fruits. Thus, Even when many die due to unfavorable soil or climatic condition others may not.
3) Possession Of Fibrous Root System: Some Weeds especially those under grass family have Fibrous Root system or feature which makes their Control difficult.
Other survive ecological or climatic condition by means of structure such as rhizomes are:
4) Easy Dispersal: Some Weeds are easily transplanted from one place to another.
The following Agent can Dispersed the fruits or seeds of Weeds:
a. Wind: Some Weeds have small and light seeds, that are easily blown by wind.
b. Animal: Weeds may be dispersed by animal including man. Some Weeds such have adhesive which they adhere to passing people or animal, And they can be carry to different places thereby Dispersal has taken place.
c. Water: This is important in the Dispersal of Weeds that can float or survive immersion. Coconut for instance can be transported by water because it can float.
d. Explosive mechanism: Weeds can also be dispersed by explosive mechanism. In this method, bearing Weeds can break to liberate the seed and carry them to place where they do not exist.
Seeds which can be dispersed by this method are: catpogoniun, centrocema, mucana etc.
Uses Of Weeds
1. Weeds serve as food to man and livestock. For instance young elephant grass is eaten as vegetable, while guinea grass serves as forage grass.
2. Weed is also a source of mulch material.
3. The decomposition of Weeds may add organic matter to soil and this could improve the texture, structure and water-holding capacity of the soil.
4. Some Weeds also have medicinal properties, hence they are used in the treatment of illness. For instance: Bush mangold is Uses locally in the treatment of fresh wounds.
5. Weeds cover enhances the Penetration of rain water into the soil thereby reducing water loss.
6.Weeds cover protects the soil from direct effect of rainfall and this helps to check erosion.
Methods Of Weeds Control/Weed Control Measures
1. Mechanical/Physical Method: This method involves the use of tools implements and machines to weed. The farmer can Weed using hoes or his hand to pull the weed:
a. It involves uprooting Weeds from the soil by hand.
b. It is mostly used by peasant farmers.
c. It is very effective.
The commercial farmers may use farm machines like tractor for ploughing and harrowing thereby killing Weeds. The tillage operation helps to bury weeds seeds.
Mechanical methods includes hoeing, uprooting Weeds with hoes before and after planting.
It also includes slashing, In this method aerial part of Weeds are removed with cutlass, leaving behind the roots in the soil. It can also be done using mouser’s mounted orafractors.
2. Chemical Method: In this methods, chemical compounds called herbicides are used to kill Weeds or reduce their growth rate.
Herbicide may be selective and non-selective depending on their move of action.
Selective herbicide are chemical which kill or injure some weed which grow in the midst of crops,
Non-Selective herbicide on their hand kill Weeds in discriminately.
Examples of herbicide include lead cirsenate atrazine, cyanamide, simaerzene, and paraquat. If herbicide are not properly applied, they may damage the crop and harm the farmer. Therefore they should be applied with caution.
What Is Sprayer
A sprayer is on equipment for spraying herbicides, insecticides or other chemical to protect crop from insects diseases and weed infestation.
Types Of Sprayer
1. Knapsack sprayer
2. Motorized sprayer
3. Hand sprayer
In large commercial farm:
1. Tractor mounted sprayer
2. Helicopter or aeroplane mounted spray may be used.
Precautionary Measures On Sprayers
1. Ensure that sprayers is in good condition before use.
2. Read and follow the instruction in the manual or the container of the herbicide before using them.
3. Wear protective clothing when spraying.
4. Wash your body thoroughly after spraying.
5. Ensure proper of mixing of the herbicide.
3. Biological Control Methods: This methods involves the use of parasites and predicator to control Weeds.
For instance, poultry particularly turkey is effective in controlling Weeds. They feed on the weeds
Also, the planting of cover crops such as: Cakpoyonium, Cencrocena etc which suppress Weeds is regarded as biological methods of weed control.
4. Cultural Method: It involves various farm operation which promote crop growth and hinders the growth of weeds.
The methods include:
1. Proper tillage operation: because it helps to bury weed seeds for they grow extensively to smoother weed.
2. Burning: setting the degetation on fire usually when preparing the lend for planting.
3. Crop Rotation: In the farm, Some crop are planting of cover crops are known to be affected by a particular weed.
When the crops are rotated, the lifespan of the weed is interrupted.
4. Planting of cover crops.
5. Correct land preparation.