• Sweet potatoes and pumpkins. Whether you prefer tasty sweet potatoes or pumpkin as a side dish or baked into a pie, say a special thanks to growers. To produce a bumper crop for holiday meals, both traditional and organic farmers focus on fighting back weeds that can crowd out crops. They use targeted synthetic or organic herbicides, tillage and hand weeding to ensure the best yield and quality.
  • Green beans, sweet peas and more. Equally vigilant weed control efforts are behind the beans and peas found on many holiday menus. Both annual and perennial weeds can be problems in all vegetable crops. Weeds compete for space, moisture and nutrients and can harbor insect and disease pests.
  • Cranberries. Colorful, perennial cranberries present a major weed control challenge. Their low, woody vines form a continuous, lawn-like swath across a bed or bog, making it impossible to till weeds without damaging the crop. Vigilant growers scout beds repeatedly through the growing season to spot problems and control them – pulling weeds by hand, suppressing them with sand, using selective herbicides and/or mowing the surrounding area to keep weeds from spreading.
  • Electricity. A happy holiday season depends on energy for lights, heating systems, ovens, TV sets and a host of other appliances. Behind the scenes, power companies emphasize effective weed control so workers can maintain and repair vital lines. Unchecked weedy trees and brush can damage lines and obstruct access during an outage.

“Weed control may not sound like an issue close to home and hearth, but it touches many aspects of our lives,” Van Wychen says. “To preserve our favorite holiday traditions, we need to invest in research and in innovative practices for integrated weed management.”