War on Weeds: Halogeton

Don Eastman

Steve Schoenig

This weed may invade your land. Be ready to oppose it.

The Enemy: Halogeton (Halogeton glomeratus)

Strategy: This annual weed imported from Asia grows in heavily disturbed areas such as roadways, sheep trails and overgrazed pastures. It particularly likes alkaline soils and semi-arid areas of high-desert winter livestock ranges such as the area west of Idaho Falls. It is small-growing plant with red, succulent-looking stems and small green tubular leaves. It is extremely toxic to livestock, especially sheep. It is responsible for thousands of livestock poisonings each year.

Attack: This is not a plant that is extremely competitive, but it is the first plant to grow once an area becomes heavily disturbed. It usually grows about 5 to 6 inches tall, but has been known to grow as tall as 18 inches. The plant produces thousands of seeds. Once established, it is difficult to keep it from reproducing. In fact, it can go so thick it looks like a red/green carpet over the soils.

Defense: The greatest defense for this weed is proper land stewardship. Maintaining a healthy range and pasture is key to preventing this weed from growing. Once established, consistent and dedicated weed-control efforts are a must. Mechanical control will work for small infestations. Once the species becomes a major problem, using Escort XP, Telar XP or Chaparral (watch for damage to sagebrush with this last product) with a surfactant is best. Early in the season, 2,4-D ester works. Late fall application of these products will put the product on the ground for next spring’s weed control. Either way if you don’t plan a revegetation program, your efforts will be useless. As this is a desert invader, the best time to plant your new seeds is in the fall or early spring. Remember, keep your range, pasture, or open fields healthy. Call a professional for proper identification.

To learn more, call Bonneville County Weed Superintendent Jeffrey Pettingill at 208-529-1397 or email weeds@co.bonneville.id.us.