Laser weeding: opportunities and challenges for couch grass (Elymus repens (L.) Gould) control

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Laser weeding may contribute to less dependency on herbicides and soil tillage. Several research and commercial projects are underway to develop robots equipped with lasers to control weeds. Artificial intelligence can be used to locate and identify weed plants, and mirrors can be used to direct a laser beam towards the target to kill it with heat. Unlike chemical and mechanical weed control, laser weeding only exposes a tiny part of the field for treatment. Laser weeding leaves behind only ashes from the burned plants and does not disturb the soil. Therefore, it is an eco-friendly method to control weed seedlings. However, perennial weeds regrow from the belowground parts after the laser destroys the aerial shoots. Depletion of the belowground parts for resources might be possible if the laser continuously kills new shoots, but it may require many laser treatments. We studied how laser could be used to destroy the widespread and aggressive perennial weed Elymus repens after the rhizomes were cut into fragments. Plants were killed with even small dosages of laser energy and stopped regrowing. Generally, the highest efficacy was achieved when the plants from small rhizomes were treated at the 3-leaf stage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11173
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2024

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Agropyrum repens, Integrated weed management, Perennial weeds, Non-chemical weed control, Site-specific weed management, Thermal weed control

ID: 391878124