2313 New Design Road Adamstown, MD 21710 Phone: 717-496-5887 / 240-416-0714 Fax: 301-990-9125
Weed Seed Predation Research Project
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Our interns, Michael and Ashley are hard at work on the latest research project in our USDA certified organic fields. There's evidence to suggest that ground dwelling beetles do a number on weed seeds. We want to find out just how much good they do in our tree fields. Weed control is seemingly never ending and conventional ways of dealing with weeds are very chemical dependent. We've already made great headway in reducing weed pressure with cover crops, now we're taking it to the next level!
Ground-dwelling beetles love to hang out in tall grass and eat weed seeds. There are grass aisles in between the tree rows, when mowed, the beetles often go searching for other patches of tall grass. We want to determine if alternate row mowing effectively pushes the beetles back and forth over the tree rows, and at the same time giving them ample opportunity to eat weed seeds on their journey.
Five days before scheduled mowing, plastic containers are filled about half way with water, a couple drops of Pure Spray Green (OMRI approved horticultural spray oil) is added to be sure there are no escapees. The containers are then collected just prior to mowing and we assess what kinds of beetles and other insects ended up in there.
The same thing is done immediately after mowing, new traps are filled with water and Pure Spray Green, then collected five days after mowing. There are two different types of scenarios we're testing: all rows being mowed each cycle, every other row is mowed each cycle.
We are in the very beginning stages of this project, more photos and data to come!