Cultivating Peanuts Peanut Notes No. 62 2022

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I do not recommend cultivating peanuts except under rare conditions. But I won’t argue about it. A discussion about cultivating often reminds me of discussions about how someone needs to load a canoe on top of their car. It’s just better to let that one go early in the conversation.

With peanuts, cultivation can result in pathogens moving onto leaves and vines earlier in the season and increasing the rate of infection. Cultivation will also bring up untreated soil that results in re-infestation with weeds regardless of what was done early in the season. Weeds generally have their greatest infestation with the first flush after tillage and then there tends to be fewer weeds emerging as time goes by. We just don’t notice this pattern when we have residual herbicides in place. If we don’t disturb the soil with cultivation, in many cases the weeds that break through after the residual herbicide plays out can be low in number, and depending on length of residual control (especially with overlapping residual sprays and multiple herbicides with different lengths of residual control), we may be weed-free for the season. Each time we cultivate we start the cycle over again and will likely have to contend with another big flush of weeds from the untreated soil we bring to the soil surface when we cultivate.

And cultivation does not control the weeds that are growing with the peanuts on the row. With peanuts, we can’t “throw the soil (some would say dirt)” on the plants (like we do with tobacco or crops like corn.) Finally, if we cultivate too close we can damage some of the pegs.