Fall weed control can prevent cutworm problems

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

Black Cutworm. Photo by OSU Extension.

We like to remind growers that fall weed control of winter annuals in corn is an excellent preventive management tactic for black cutworm the following spring.  By providing a weed-free seedbed in the spring, the likelihood of black cutworm problems in the spring will be lower.  Adult moths migrate from the south each spring and lay their eggs on weeds, with chickweed perhaps the most well-known host for eggs.  Black cutworm caterpillars then move to corn when weeds are killed.  Thus, a fall herbicide application not only rids the field of the weeds, but also removes potential sites for egg laying.  When considering the benefits of a fall herbicide application, do not forget the added benefit of black cutworm management.

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