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Weed Control - Beans


Weed infestations will reduce yield, and climbing species such as black-bindweed and cleavers can cause lodging.  Effective weed control will ease combining. 

A checklist of the approved herbicides and timings for various weed problems is given for winter and spring beans in PGRO Technical Update TU24 ‘Checklist of Herbicides for Beans’, and further information on choice of herbicide is given in PGRO Technical Update TU20 ‘Choice of Herbicides for Field Beans’.


Broad-leaved Weeds

It is essential that pre-emergence residual herbicides are used, since there is only one approved post-emergence herbicide which controls some emerged broad-leaved weeds.  There are no herbicides to control thistles and docks - products containing MCPB, MCPA or clopyralid are damaging to beans. Most pre-emergence products have a minimum planting depth requirement and dose rate may be influenced by soil type.  

If cleavers are expected to be a particular problem in winter or spring beans Lingo (linuron + clomazone) alone or Centium 360 CS (clomazone) in a suitable tank-mix will be effective pre-emergence.

1. With only one post emergence product in spring beans it is important to get an effective pre-emergence herbicide applied.

2. Pre-emergence herbicide used.

3. Otherwise we could have problems later

4. Although bentazone works better at higher temperatures, it is recommended that applications are not made if temperatures shortly after application are likely to exceed 21°C. Higher temperatures give better efficacy but increase the risk of crop damage.


Nirvana (imazamox + pendimethalin) is approved in both spring and winter beans and various pendimethalin formulations have EAMUs (Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use). Defy (prosulfocarb) has EAMUs for pre-emergence use in both winter and spring beans. Afalon (linuron) has approval for use in the spring crop.

In winter beans, residual herbicides Kerb (propyzamaide) and Crawler (carbetamide) offer limited control of broad-leaved weeds. They are chiefly used when black-grass, volunteer cereals, wild-oats and other annual grasses are expected to be a problem. There are no reports of black-grass resistance to either of these products and both are important tools in its control. Bentazone is the only active ingredient approved for post-emergence weed control. However, it has a limited weed spectrum and will not control annual meadow-grass, large fat-hen or black-bindweed.  It is useful for control of small cleavers and oilseed rape volunteers which may not be controlled by pre-emergence materials. To avoid crop damage, it should be applied before 7 leaf pairs (winter beans) and before 6 leaf pairs (spring beans).

5. Products containing clomazone can cause a bleaching effect after emergence particularly if there have been wet conditions following application.

6. The early bleaching disappears over time but can reappear if wet conditions return later in the crop’s development. This does not affect yield.

7. Heavy rainfall after application of pre-emergence products containing pendimethalin can cause cupping and distortion of leaves in both peas and beans. Unless very severe, this usually recovered from.

8. Late exposure to a sulfonylurea causing superfluous excessive tiller formation.


Grass weeds, wild-oats and black-grass


Kerb and Crawler are for use only in winter beans and will control volunteer cereals, various grass weeds and are useful where black-grass is a problem
especially if there are resistance issues.

Fusilade Max (fluazifop-p-butyl), Laser (cycloxidim) + oil, Pilot Ultra (quizalofop-p-ethyl, Falcon (propaquizafop) post-emergence, all have some activity on wild-oats, black-grass, and volunteer cereals.  Falcon gives some control of annual meadow-grass. 

9. At early crop development and as long as soil conditions are suitable it is possible to achieve acceptable weed control in beans using a tined weeder.

10. Hemp-nettle.

11. Knotgrass.

12. Scentless Mayweed


Couch and perennial broad-leaved weeds

As far as possible perennial weed problems should be tackled in the previous crop pre-harvest using glyphosate products. In the crop the rates required to achieve couch control with graminicides is uneconomic. Glyphosate applied pre-harvest on beans provides an excellent opportunity for eradication of couch and problem perennial broad-leaved species, but must not be used in crops for seed.  It should be applied when all the pods are dry and black,
and the seed is hard, with moisture content 30%
or less, although the stems may still be green.


13. Annual Mercury

14. Annual Nettle

15. Wild Radish

16. Poppy

Weed control images on these pages from© Blackthorn Arable Ltd.