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Weed Control Solutions Explained - Advantages & Dis-Advantages

The recent trend toward restricting herbicide use has produced interest in alternative and integrated weed control strategies that include cultivation. As a result, newly developed implements are now available to vegetable growers from Northern Equipment Solutions, but the potential uses of these tools for numerous vegetable crops can be confusing. This describes some of these tools and their advantages and disadvantages.


Flex-tine harrows

Flex-tine harrows are used broadcast, both over and between the crop rows. They are most efficient when weeds are in the white-thread or cotyledon development stage. In direct-seeded

crops, such as snap beans or sweet corn, flex-tine implements are used pre-emergence. Tines pass above the planted seed. Harrowing can be repeated post-emergence for control of newly

germinated weeds, but only when the crop is wellrooted.  Cultivation intensity can be modified to minimize crop damage. Guide wheels and tine intensity regulate harrowing depth.












  • • Tools are available in large widths (up to 40') and are operated at high speeds when

used pre-emergence.

  • • Flex-tine implements are useful for a number of crops and row spacings with little or no equipment modifications.
  • • Tines that pass over the crop row can be lifted, allowing for aggressive between-row harrowing when the crop is sensitive to cultivation damage.
  • • Pre-emergence harrowing breaks crusted soils and may increase crop emergence




  • • Cultivation timing is critical; weeds with four or more leaves and emerged grasses at any stage are rarely controlled. Therefore, early season flex-tine harrowing should be integrated with a more aggressive cultivator or with post-emergence herbicides for control of escaped or newly germinated weeds.
  • • Research in transplanted broccoli, snap beans, and sweet corn has shown that flex-tine harrows can reduce crop stand and yield when used before the crop is wellrooted.


The Steketee Finger Weeder

The finger weeder is designed specifically for in-row weed control. The tool has pairs

of ground-driven rotating fingers: two pairs in the front push soil and uprooted weeds away from the crop row; while the third pair pushes soil back into the row, covering weeds that were missed by the other fingers. The weeder is most effective when fingers pass very close to the crop row; therefore, precise cultivation and slow driving speeds are important. The finger weeder is most effective on small-acreage, high-value crops.















  • • The weeder offers excellent in-row weed control.
  • • The finger weeder is a lightweight tool and can be mid-mounted on a small tractor.


  • • The weeder must be used when weeds are small; therefore, timing is critical.
  • • Between-row control is poor. Finger weeders should be used in combination with an inter-row cultivator.
  • • Slow, precise cultivation is necessary to minimize crop damage.


Steketee Torsion Weeder

The torsion weeder is mounted on an existinginter-row cultivator for improved in-row weed

control. This simple tool has spring-loaded steel rods on each side of the crop row that undercut small weeds. The width of the uncultivated strip is easily adjusted for each crop and  development stage.



  • • The torsion weeder offers excellent in-row weed control.
  • • The simple design minimizes potential cultivator repairs.
  • • The torsion weeder is an economical addition to an existing cultivator.


  • • Careful, accurate cultivation is important.










        Steketee Fully-Automatic Intra-Row Weeder


Northern Equipment Solutions Provides Leading Weed Control Solutions From Industry Leader Steketee - Both mechanical and chemical solutions.  visit www.northernequipment.ca for more information

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