Mechanical Weed Control in Corn (Zea mays L.)

  • Maryse L. Leblanc
  • Daniel C. Cloutier


Mechanical weed control in corn was practised as early as the 19th century. Over the past 30 years, however, effective selective herbicides have more or less replaced mechanical cultivation (Lampkin 1990). Although cultivation, or tillage, is still done because of the benefits to the soil, weed control is performed through an early-season application of herbicide. Tillage not only controls weeds but loosens the soil and breaks the surface crust, a common problem in corn growing. Crusts tend to form in silty clay soils after a period of rain followed by hot, windy weather. The crust slows oxygen diffusion and reduces heat transfer, makes emergence difficult for corn seedlings, and has a negative impact on crop uniformity. Removing the surface crust by cultivation also promotes mineralization of the nutrients required by corn (Souty and Rode 1994). In addition, cultivation helps to preserve soil moisture needed for plant growth, since the layer of loosened soil limits the capillary rise of moisture. This function of cultivation is most effective in regions with a dry climate and when the corn root system is not very well developed. When the roots are well distributed throughout the soil or the foliage provides shade, little moisture is lost even if the field has not been cultivated.


Weed Control Weed Seed Corn Root Surface Crust Light Cultivator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Coleman F., (1954). The control of weeds by tillage. J. Inst. Brit. Agr. Eng. 10:3–12.Google Scholar
  2. Douville, Y., Jobin P., Leblanc M., Cloutier D., (1995). La houe rotative dans la culture du maïs. Prod. Plus 4(7):43–45.Google Scholar
  3. Gay J.P., (1984). Le cycle du maïs, pp. 1–11 in Physiologie du maïs, INRA, Paris, 574p.Google Scholar
  4. Lampkin N., (1990). Organic farming. Farming Press Book, Ipswick, U.K., 701 p.Google Scholar
  5. Leblanc M.L., Cloutier D.C., Leroux G.D., (1995). Réduction de l’utilisation des herbicides dans le maïs-grain par une application d’herbicides en bandes combinée à des sarclages mécaniques. Weed Res. 35:511–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Lovely W.G., Weber C.R., Staniforth D.W., (1958). Effectiveness of the rotary hoe for weed control in soybean. Agron. J. 50:621–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mengel D.B., Barber S.A., (1974). Development and distribution of the corn root system under field condition. Agron. J. 66:341–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Parish S., (1990). A review of non-chemical weed control techniques. Biol. Agric. Hort. 7:117–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Peters E.J., Klingman D.L., Larson R.E., (1959). Rotary hoeing in combination with herbicides and other cultivations for weed control in soybean. Weeds 7:449–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Rea H.E., (1955). The control of early weeds in cotton. Southern Weed Conf. Proc. 8:57–60.Google Scholar
  11. St-Pierre H., (1993). Le sarclage et les sarcloirs, quelques coûts, pp. 37–46 in La culture du maïs sans herbicide, Direction régionale du Richelieu-Saint-Hyacinthe, M.A.P.A.Q., Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, 51 p.Google Scholar
  12. Souty N., Rode C., (1994). La levée des plantules au champ: un problème mécanique? Sécheresse 5:13–22.Google Scholar
  13. Weaver J.E., (1926). Chapter IX: Root habits of corn or maize, pp. 180–191 in Root Development of Field Crops, McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc., New York, 291 p.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryse L. Leblanc
  • Daniel C. Cloutier

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations