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Identifying Common Winter Weeds in Pastures

Publication Number: P3228
View as PDF: P3228.pdf
Winter annual weed competition can be damaging to early-spring forage yield. Most winter annual weeds will germinate in late fall, grow during the winter, and reach a reproductive stage in the early spring, when they compete with desirable forage species. As temperatures increase, the weeds become more problematic and then senescence (die), leaving behind seed that will germinate the following fall.
Weed-control decisions in pastures are usually based on visual thresholds and making sure that you can target as many weed species as possible with a broad-spectrum herbicide application. Always scout fields to determine if a treatment is warranted. Herbicide selection, application rate, and application time depend on the growth stage of the target weed species.
Weeds are considered an important biotic constraint to pasture management. Integrated weed management for pastures combines the use of complementary weed-control methods such as grazing, herbicide application, and mechanical and biological control. This publication concentrates on chemical control for specific cool-season weed species. Some of the most common troublesome winter weeds include buckhorn plantain, buttercup, Carolina geranium, common chickweed, curly dock, dandelion, henbit, musk thistle, and wild barley. Table 1 contains a number of herbicides with activity on winter pasture weeds.
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Portrait of Dr. Rocky Lemus
Extension/Research Professor
Forage Establishment, Grazing Systems and Management, Hay Production, Forage Fertility, Forage Quali