Steaming reaps convincing results in Babyleaf cultures: No weeds – more yields

Within 14 days present on 3 field days: Steaming is everywhere. On the 31.08.2011 the latest results on steaming research made by the DLR RLP were the only topics in a field day in Switzerland. Mr. Ziegler, department manager horticulture, introduced steaming as most efficient means for weed control to more than 50 guests. At the same day new steaming methods were presented on the field day of the chamber of agriculture in Cologne / Auweiler.

Two weeks later, on the 15.09., the Service Center for Rural Areas (DLR) Rheinlandpfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) presented its latest results of steaming tests with babyleaf and arugula on the Quckbrunner Hof during its field day. Two steaming methods were compared with other means of weed control such as classic herbicides, etc. Both steaming methods showed the same effects.

Baby-Leaf Culture treated with herbicides. Worst growth, weeds still present (in particular ragwort!)

Baby-Leaf Culture treated with herbicides. Worst growth, weeds still present (in particular ragwort!)

Baby-Leaf on control area, not treated: Lots of weeds and good plant growth.

Baby-Leaf on control area, not treated: Lots of weeds and good plant growth.

Baby-Leaf culture on steamed soil: Best quality and highest yields – 100% weed free

Baby-Leaf culture on steamed soil: Best quality and highest yields – 100% weed free

The use of herbicides (Kerb Flo and Cadou) in general always came with significant growth disturbance. Cadou suppresses ragwort well, but strongly harms babyleaf as shown in the first picture. The exclusive treatment with Kerb Flo shows much less damages, but the weed control effect is insufficient. Herbicide treatments all required manual removal of weeds.

Areas treated with hot steam showed different results: the steamed beets were all totally weed free. Furthermore plant growth was increased. The DLR pointed out that the effect of hot steam depends on steaming time. If steaming time is too short (below 5 minutes), weed seeds might survive.

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