After a mild, wet winter, weeds are starting to grow. Spring is here.

In comparison to the spring of 2013, which was very cold, the season was slower to start and it certainly looks like weed control will be starting earlier this year. It is therefore essential to assess the seasons year by year and not just have an application date which starts the same each year.

In order to achieve a successful herbicide treatment programme it is of paramount importance to be able to identify target species and growth stages to apply the correct herbicide for controlled targets. So the timing of application is crucial to maximise the take up of herbicide by the plant.

It is possible to treat too early, when the plants are too small, and also too late when the plants have seeded and are naturally dying back. Ideally we want healthy active growing young plants which have good leaf coverage. Very small plants may not have enough leaf coverage to apply herbicide to successfully kill plants, so monitoring growth is important.

There can be huge variations across the country of application treatments. Treatments in the warmer south are often started earlier due to the plants being far more advanced through the growing season than the colder northern regions.

Carefully planning your herbicide treatment programme on a year by year basis, not only ensures a successful treatment, it also makes for a more environmentally friendly and cost effective programme as the number of retreatments is kept to a minimum.