Precision Herbicide Applicator for Efficient Weed Control

Technology #17012

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Nathan S Boyd
Arnold W. Schumann
Managed By
John Byatt
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Limits Amount of Herbicide Applied in Plasticulture Vegetable Production

This device attaches to a standard plasticulture hole punch and applies herbicide only to the soil beneath the punched holes in plastic mulch, significantly reducing herbicide usage in vegetable production. Farmers often cover soil beds with plastic mulch to improve their control over the soil conditions during vegetable production. This commonly involves spraying the entire bed-top with herbicide then covering it with plastic mulch. Afterward, the farmers use a hole punch to punch holes through the plastic into the soil in which they place vegetable transplants. However, since broadleaf and grass weeds only grow in the holes punched for the transplants, this procedure uses a much greater quantity of herbicide than is necessary for effective weed control.

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a precision herbicide applicator that attaches to standard plastic mulch hole-punching equipment. It determines the precise locations of the punched holes and delivers herbicide only to the exposed soil. The device allows farmers to punch holes and apply herbicide in a single pass, and it greatly reduces overall herbicide usage.


Herbicide application equipment that automatically sprays only when positioned over holes punched in plastic mulch to significantly reduce herbicide usage in commercial vegetable production


  • Applies herbicide only to the soil exposed under holes punched in plastic mulch, reducing overall herbicide usage by 45-85 percent
  • Enables simultaneous hole punching and herbicide application, improving plasticulture vegetable production efficiency


This device reduces herbicide usage by depositing herbicide only into holes punched into plastic mulch. After attaching to a standard hole punch, the device uses a photoelectric sensor along with mathematical calculations to determine the precise times when the affixed herbicide nozzle passes over holes in the mulch. Using this information, the device automatically turns the nozzle on and off so that it applies the herbicide into each hole and nowhere else, resulting in a 45-85 percent reduction in herbicide usage.

Here’s a Precision Herbicide in Action