Volunteer Rye Cannot Be Controlled in Small Grains

Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist; mjv@udel.edu

There have been a considerable number of fields with rye-strips planted for vegetables in some areas, and these fields are very convenient to plant small grains in the fall. However, keep in mind that there is no herbicide available to control volunteer rye in wheat or barley. There are a few herbicides that will control or suppress Italian (or annual) ryegrass in these crops, but they will not control grain rye used for wind breaks. Therefore, if the windbreaks were allowed to produce seed this year, you can expect the rye to act as a competitive weed in your small grains. Rye seeds generally germinate the same year they are produced, so it is not a long-term problem. However, it can be an issue if you planted rye strips last fall and then plant small grains this fall.

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