Annual crops are especially sensitive to weed pressure during early growth. Intensive weed pressure limits crop growth through competition for light, nutrients and water.
Grow the weeds, and then grow the crop! The false seedbed tech-nique consists of preparing a regular seedbed (early) and then – in-stead of sowing the crop directly – you allow the weeds to germinate and then control them repeatedly before planting or sowing the ac-tual crop.
The false seedbed technique reduces the weed seed bank in the topsoil and, as a result, significantly reduces competition of annual weeds in the succeeding crop.
• Prepare a regular seedbed 2 to 4 weeks before the planned seeding date of the next crop.
• Let the weeds germinate and grow to the 2- to 4-leaf stage, the most effective stage for weed control.
• Uproot the weeds to a depth of 3 to 5 cm using a harrow comb or a flexible or chain harrow.
• If (a) weed density is high, (b) if you have 7 to 10 days available for sowing the crop, or if (c) weed competition in the following crop is very critical, repeat the procedure a second time before sowing the crop as usual.
• Weed seed germination is highest in humid soil with a fine tilth. If the seedbed is too dry or cloddy, germination is reduced and the impact of the method is limited.
• Effectiveness of the method can be limited at soil temperatures below 10 °C.
• Preferably use a power take-off or friction-driven machines to avoid soil structure damages.