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Don't let spurge be your Grinch



NOVEMBER 24, 2017 05:40 AM

Leafy spurge and the Grinch would make a good couple; while onedepresses the Christmas cheer the other depresses your forage yield andquality. The long-lived perennial noxious weed is not growing during the wintermonths but it is certainly lurking at the ready to attack again in spring. Withthe capacity of producing up to 130,000 seeds per plant, growing roots at arate of 4.5m annually, and re-sprouting from a sheer endless number of roodnodules, it is a force to be reckoned with. So while this yellow-green Grinchis slumbering under the snow, you can be busy planning your integrated weedcontrol masterplan.

 An integrated weed management approach is the fastest and mosteconomical way to combat aggressive weeds like leafy spurge. An integratedcontrol approach should be used in weed infestations larger than 5 hectares orin well-established leafy spurge patches. Research by Rodney Lym at NorthDakota State University documented that the combination of biological controlagents, herbicide application and targeted grazing resulted in a larger andfaster decline in leafy spurge compared to one control method used alone.

How does it work? First, establish the perimeter of the infestation orwhere the infestation moves from sprayable patches to more continuous weedcover. Spray a corridor of about 12 meters, wide enough to prevent leafy spurgeseeds to travel across this boundary. Spray any patches occurring outside ofyour established boundary. Inside the boundary, establish leafy spurge beetlepopulations and apply targeted grazing using goats and sheep. If the budget andenvironmental conditions allow it, fall herbicide applications can be used inareas where leafy spurge beetles are established. For a comprehensive weedmanagement plan, it is best to work with a professional agrologist who specializesin weed control strategies.

For more information, please contact:

  • Your Regional Forage Specialist,
  • Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 or
  • The Program Design and Delivery Branch at 1-877-874-5365.

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