NORMAN — Many people in Cleveland County who own acreages are plagued with both perennial and annual weeds. Often times like this is due to overgrazing common to small acreages with high livestock densities.
Mother Nature never chooses to be naked and when bare ground exists for any reason, she always tries to cover herself. Normally this can be in the form of broadleaf and sometimes grassy weed species.
The best way to prevent weeds is a healthy stand of grass, but when this is not present, weed populations may explode. Heavy weed infestations can be controlled by herbicide application, but proper pasture management afterwards is required to maintain desirable grasses in a healthy state and prevent future problems associated with weeds.
Late May and early June are great times to apply herbicide since most weed species are young and actively growing due to frequent rainfall and mild temperatures. Later in the growing season, weeds become mature and begin to initiate reproduction.
Coupled with this, environmental conditions during late summer also become hot and dry and it is under these conditions, when plants are not young and actively growing, when they become difficult to control.
Generally, the need for herbicide application indicates a history of poor management. Weed infestation, in many instances, may be a symptom of overgrazing. Overgrazing combined with a poor fertility program on introduced-forages
can also lead to weed problems.
Prior to spending money on herbicide application, it is imperative producers examine present management practices and determine what is creating the conditions that allow weed species to dominate. Until these deficiencies are identified and corrected, producers will be caught in a perpetual cycle of applying herbicides when that expense could be better spent on other inputs.
If the decision to use a herbicide has been made, it is essential producers correctly identify the target species and follow label directions regarding application and cleanup/disposal of the herbicide following use.