War on Weeds: Kochia


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

The Enemy: Kochia (Bassia scoparia)

Strategy: This annual weed can grow from 1 to 6 feet tall. This native plant of Asia has become one of the worst weeds in our development and agricultural communities. Kochia can be found anywhere from the smallest gardens, to alleyways, to gravel and asphalted road shoulders and it even affects all kinds of agricultural fields. This plant is very green, with slightly hairy leaves (especially when young) with one main stem with offshoots that taper to the top and produce a small, cream-colored flower. Later in the summer, it is a major contributor to allergies.

Attack: This plant competes for sunlight and nutrients for all desirable vegetation. It produces over 10,000 seeds per plant. An even bigger problem is when this plant dries up it becomes huge fire hazard and becomes our tumbleweed the following year. It germinates from seed with each rainstorm throughout the summer. It contains toxins that can be hazardous to livestock and becomes a major distracter along roadsides.

Defense: Getting an early start on controlling this weed is key to limiting its damage. Once this plant becomes knee high, it is very tough to control. Since this plant is an annual, it can be controlled by mechanical means (shovel, disking, plowing, etc). Mowing is very ineffective because the plant will simply grow back within a week. There are numerous herbicides that can be used especially Banvel, Vanquish (or Clarity), Starane or Vista. You’ll find little effect on this plant from 2,4-D. I must caution you that this plant has biotypes that are resistant to many herbicides, even the ones listed above. Rotation of classes of herbicides is important to manage the weed. Persistant revegetation will help. As always, call your local weed authority for more details.

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