Stickweed and Bamboo Questions

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I want to share some questions that came into the Caldwell Extension Center this week.

I think these questions and answers will be of interest to many readers.

Question: I have a weed in my pasture that grows 3 to 4 feet tall and has a yellow bloom in the summer. During the winter the weed dries down, but the stem remains standing as a stick. What is this weed and how do I control it?

Answer: Normally when I hear yellow flowers in a pasture I think buttercup, but the give away is that the weed grows tall and remains standing as a stick in the pasture through the winter. The common name for this weed is yellow crownbeard (Phaethusa occidentalis).

Stickweed or yellow-crownbeard is a perennial pasture weed that can be controlled now with herbicides. In another month or two stickweed will be too tall to control easily with a boom sprayer.

Stickweed or yellow-crownbeard is a perennial pasture weed that can be controlled now with herbicides. In another month or two stickweed will be too tall to control easily with a boom sprayer.

Locally, most farmers call this by the very descriptive name of stickweed.

Stickweed is a perennial plant in the aster family. The main problem with this weed in pastures is livestock will not consume it. In 1996, a biological weed control study was conducted at NC State University. Goats were used to try to control pasture weeds. The two year study demonstrated that goats will not consume stickweed, nimblewill, or wild strawberries. However, goats are able to control some weeds such as honeysuckle, brambles, privet, kudzu, and hardwood seedlings.

Stickweed can be controlled with herbicide applications. Research conducted at Virginia Tech shows 2,4-D Ester and products containing this active ingredient can provide about 70% control of this weed.

Question: How do you control bamboo?

Answer: Bamboo is difficult to control. There are clump-type bamboos and creeping-type bamboos. Once established, the creeping-type bamboos can spread up to 20 feet in one season. Clump-type bamboos are less invasive, but either type can take over landscapes, stream banks and woodlands. New shoots can push through asphalt and concrete. If you have bamboo, you know how difficult it is to control.

It is not impossible to control bamboo, but it does require persistence. The first step is to cut down the bamboo and remove as much of the rhizome and root mass as possible. However, any piece of root left behind has the potential to grow into a new plant. So, once you have removed as much of the root mass as possible, it will be necessary to do followup treatments of mowing or herbicide application.

Bamboo cannot survive weekly mowing. Converting the bamboo infestation area to turf grass will keep the area from reverting back to bamboo if mowed weekly. Herbicides with the active ingredient glyphosate can control bamboo. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in RoundUp and many other products. Apply as a wiper application (1 part glyphosate with 2 parts water) to new shoots as they emerge. The shoots should be treated with herbicide before leaves develop.

Following this plan will get bamboo under control in 2 to 3 years. Being vigilant is the key to controlling bamboo. If you give up before the fight is over the bamboo will continue to be a problem.