Herbicides for Weed Control in Chufas
Chufas are a nutsedge, related to yellow nutsedge, not a grass or broadleaf plant. Nutsedges are quite resistant to many
herbicides and grow in a variety of soil types, but do best in well-drained sandy loam soils. They will grow even in clay
soils although turkeys have a difficult time scratching the tubers out of hard clay soil. The solution is to disk lightly
over the patch in the fall, after chufas have matured, to break up hard soil. Soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0 for
Planting dates are much the same as corn and range from April through June running south to north. Chufas mature in
approximately 90 days to 110 days. In areas with shorter growing seasons, chufas will still produce "nuts," but not as
many as they do at full maturity. As they mature, the tops will turn a golden brown color and turkeys will begin scratching
up the chufas. If turkeys aren't familiar with chufas in your area, simply pull some of the plants out of the ground to
expose the "nuts," or as mentioned above, disk over a strip of the plot so the turkeys can find them.
Prior to planting chufas, the soil should be plowed or disked. Herbicides are normally not used in chufa plantings for
wildlife, but occasionally grasses and broadleaf weeds can become such a problem that certain herbicides have to be
applied. Herbicides are not labeled for use on certain wildlife food plants, but Treflan (labeled for chicory) or Prowl
(labeled for corn) can be sprayed and incorporated into the soil (pre-plant incorporated) with fertilizer and seed at
planting to control certain grass and broadleaf weeds. Read the labels carefully and do not apply more than the label
recommends for your soil type and specific weed problem! Go to: www.cdms.net
to see herbicide labels and weeds controlled by each one.
Do a soil test to reveal the proper amount of fertilizer and lime to apply to the soil. Using the proper amounts will save
you money. In lieu of a soil test, use 200 to 250 pounds of 17-17-17 or 19-19-19 fertilizer and one ton of lime per acre.
Chufa can be drilled or broadcast. Broadcast seeding is the most common method of planting with the rate for broadcasting
being 40 to 50 pounds per acre. After the lime, seed and fertilizer are scattered, the plot should be sprayed with the
herbicide and covered to a depth of 1 to 2 inches with a disk harrow or drag. Proper broadcasting will result in three to
four plants per square foot. After the crop is established, top spraying as needed with Poast Plus or Fusilade plus crop
oil surfactant will help control competing grasses. For broadleaf weeds, use 2,4-D Amine or 2,4-DB. Chances are good that
the plot will not need both the pre-plant and post-plant treatments, just one or the other. Use good judgement! If you are
planting in an “old” field with a large weed bank in the soil and have had problems in this field before, use one of the
Plots as small as 1/4-acre or less or as large as two or three acres can be planted for wild turkeys. If there is a large
raccoon population, small plots, 1/4-acre or less, may be destroyed. The optimum plot size is about 1/2-acre to 1-acre.
Remember, lots of critters love chufas. Plant enough for everyone!
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Copied by permission from Kent Kammermeyer.