Make selective use of spring herbicides

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Source countries

Key messages

A replicated, controlled, randomized study in the UK found that spring herbicides had some benefits for beneficial weeds and arthropods.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, controlled, randomized study from 2003 to 2005 of arable fields at three sites in the UK (Jones & Smith 2007) found that spring herbicides had some benefits for beneficial weeds and arthropods. Species richness and cover of beneficial weeds tended to be higher with single spring or post-emergence herbicide applications than pre-emergence or combinations of applications; figures were lowest in plots with three annual applications. Cover of undesirable weeds was higher in single spring or pre-emergence applications than combined treatments. Single applications tended to reduce arthropod abundance less than sequences of herbicides, although post-emergence and pre-emergence applications were detrimental to some taxa. There were three or five replicate plots (3 or 4 x 24 m) of each treatment per site: untreated, pre-emergence, post-emergence or spring applications or combinations of each two/all herbicide applications. Vegetation was sampled in five quadrats (0.25 m²) in each plot (June 2003-2005). Arthropods were sampled using a D-Vac suction sampler (five sub-samples of 10s/plot) in a sub-set of treatments (June).

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Dicks, L.V., Ashpole, J.E., Dänhardt, J., James, K., Jönsson, A., Randall, N., Showler, D.A., Smith, R.K., Turpie, S., Williams D.R. & Sutherland, W.J. (2018) Farmland Conservation Pages 245-284 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Farmland Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Farmland Conservation
What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation assesses the research looking at whether interventions are beneficial or not. It is based on summarised evidence in synopses, on topics such as amphibians, bats, biodiversity in European farmland, and control of freshwater invasive species. More are available and in progress.

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