At Fort Collins, Colorado, United States, scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are turning to soil to promote weed control. Soil variability, an important factor in treating weed-infested land, can be gauged by measuring different soils' electrical conductivity (EC). A soil's EC assesses how easily it allows a current to pass through it. Soils with a higher EC generally have more clay and organic matter and require more herbicide. Commercial growers can use EC to create herbicide application maps, allowing them to adjust application rates based on variations within the soil. This, in turn, reduces the risk of excessive herbicide leaching while maintaining effectiveness. Though a field kit is still in the early stages of development, it is believed that it could help reduce herbicide overdose. It is doubtless only a matter of time before someone will produce a simple device so that home gardeners can discover their own soil’s electrical conductivity and reduce herbicide application to the minimum.
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