Q&A- With Seth Nagy

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There were some excellent questions that came into the Caldwell Extension Center this week, and I’d like to share three of them with you. I hope you find these questions and their answers helpful. If you have a specific question not answered here, please contact the Caldwell Extension Center.

Question: How can I control bamboo?

Answer: Bamboo is difficult to control. Once established, some varieties can spread up to 20 feet in one season. Controlling bamboo requires persistence. For total eradication, the first step is to cut down the bamboo. If practical, remove as much of the rhizome and root mass as possible. This will improve control. Rhizomes are kind of like big roots. Botanically, they are actually underground stems. These underground stems can grow into new bamboo plants. It is impossible to remove all rhizomes in the ground. Any pieces left behind can grow into a new plant. A follow-up treatment strategy will be needed to keep the little pieces from re-establishing the bamboo stand. The follow-up treatment plan can be herbicides or mowing.

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. Be sure to read the directions on the herbicide label. The shoots should be treated with herbicide in the husk stage. The husk stage is when the shoot has emerged but before leaves develop on the shoot.

Getting bamboo under control is not easy. It will take 2 to 3 years for full control if you remain vigilant. Giving up before total control is achieved will allow the bamboo to reestablish.

Question: I have a question regarding the general selenium content in the soils of Caldwell County. I have dairy goats. In going to workshops and listening to dairy goat owners, there seems to be some disagreement regarding selenium supplementation. It is such a toxic substance that I really do not want to add it unless our soils are considered truly deficient?

Answer: My first question is, are you having problems/issues normally associated with Selenium (Se) deficiency? These symptoms are abortions or stillborn animals, chronic pneumonia, uterine problems or infections, or muscle and joint problems. goatsThe muscle and joint issues should not be related to caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE), which is a problem in some goat herds. Caprine arthritis encephalitis is not related to the Se status of the animal.

If you are not having these types of problems, I think your Se status is good. However, it would not be a bad idea to look at your free choice mineral and other purchased feeds to determine the Se intake. To calculate the intake, determine the Se concentration from the feedtag and then multiply by the animal’s daily intake. To determine the Se content of your forages, there are commercial laboratories that can analyze your forages. Although Se requirements are not well defined for goats, 0.7 mg/day for adult goats should be sufficient to keep them healthy.

I should point out that our mountain counties have very, very low Se in the soils. In Caldwell County, we just have low Se content in our soils. The Se level in the soil determines the level in the forage. So if you are comparing with goat farmers from the mountains, be aware that their forages are much lower in Se content than forages grown in Caldwell County.

Lastly, if you want to supplement with an injectable product like Bo-Se, this requires a prescription from your veterinarian. Having a working relationship with your veterinarian is an essential step in every animal health program. I would encourage you to ask your veterinarian about supplementation if you feel you are having some of the problems associated with low Se and you are supplementing with free choice minerals. The maximum concentration of Se in feeds is regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Question: There are clumps of green grass in my yard. What type of grass is this?

Answer: The key to grass identification is the vernation and the collar region. Vernation is just a fancy word for how the new leaf blades are formed at the growing tip. Grasses are either rolled or folded. The collar region is where the the leaf blade joins the stem. In this case, the give away is the the folded flat looking stem and the large ligule where the blade joins the stem. It is a give away that this is orchard grass. Orchard grass is often found in pastures and hay fields. Sometimes it finds its way into lawns when hay is used as a mulch when establishing the lawn.

One technique that can help when trying to identify grass species that are unfamiliar is to let the grass grow and produce a seedhead. orchard grassThis makes grass identification much easier to get correct. Just select a small patch and don’t mow it into your yard, or dig up some of the grass and grow it in a pot.

For answers to your agricultural questions, call the Caldwell County Extension Center at 828-757-1290 or visit us online anytime at https://caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu.