Weed management in short rotation poplar and herbaceous perennial crops grown for biofuel production

Douglas D. Buhler, Daniel A. Netzer, Don E. Riemenschneider, Robert G. Hartzler

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65 Scopus citations


Weed management is a key element of any crop production system. Weeds are a particular problem in the production of short rotation woody and perennial herbaceous biomass crops due to the shortage of registered herbicides and integrated weed management systems. Herbicides will be an important component of weed management of biomass crops. However, producers should take a broader view of weeds and incorporate all available weed management tactics in these production systems. In both short rotation poplar and herbaceous perennial crops, weed control during the establishment period is most critical. New plantings of these species grow very slowly and do not compete well with weeds until a canopy develops. Effective weed control can double the growth of short rotation poplar crops and affect the variability of the resulting stand. In crops like switchgrass, uncontrolled weeds during establishment can result in stand failure. Cultural practices such as site preparation, using weed-free seed, fallowing, selecting the proper planting dates, companion crops and controlling weeds in previous crops must be combined with herbicides to develop integrated management systems. Weeds may also cause problems in established stands through competition with the biomass crop and by contaminating the product. Effective and economical weed management systems will be essential for the development of short rotation woody and herbaceous perennial biomass crop production systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-394
Number of pages10
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1998


  • Herbicides
  • Integrated weed management
  • Switchgrass
  • Weed control


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