Weed Management

Weeds Taking Root Beyond the Backyard
By Brent Meyer, Lancaster County Weed Superintendent

Goats eating PhragmitesRecently CBS Sunday Morning aired a documentary on Weeds Taking Root Beyond the Backyard. I encourage you to click on the link and watch the episode. While they did a great job bringing to light the problems we face with invasive species, I would like to comment on the portion- Goats Eating Phragmites. When I watched the video it made it seem like all I needed to do is get some goats and in six weeks my phragmites would be gone. Anyone who has tried to eradicate their phragmites understands it is more difficult that just running a few goats out there.

This is what was reported in the documentary on August 19, 2012.
 

New York City hopes Larry Cihanek's goats will have better luck against another weed gone wild, an invasive variety of a reed called phragmites plaguing Freshkills Park, an enormous former landfill on Staten Island the city is restoring.

The experiment: To see if the goats will eat their way through 2 acres of the stuff.
"A goat eats about 20 percent of its body weight a day in weeds, so that's a 65/70-pound goat, so that goat's gonna eat 15 to 20 pounds of food a day," said Cihanek. "We have 20 goats. The objective was to do it in six weeks, and they'll certainly do it in six weeks."

It turns out they love phragmites. Six weeks later, success.

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Cutleaf Teasel, Dipsacus laciniatus L.
By Brent Meyer, Lancaster County Weed Superintendent

Cutleaf TeaselAppearance
Teasels are monocarpic perennials (produce seed only once in a lifetime) that form basal rosettes for at least one year until enough resources are acquired to send up flower stalks. Cutleaf teasel can reach 6 to 8 ft. in height. The plant dies after flowering.

Foliage - Opposite leaves are joined at the base and form cups that surround the prickly stem.

Flowers - The small, white flowers densely cover oval flower heads and are present from July to September. Spiny bracts are located on the ends of flower stems.

Fruit - A single plant can produce up to 2,000 seeds and can remain viable in the soil for at least two years.

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Fall Treatment of Phragmites
By Brent Meyer, Lancaster County Weed Superintendent

Image of Phragmites by streamThe Lancaster County Weed Department is currently having a signup for landowner’s that would like to have their phragmites sprayed this fall by helicopter. Our goal is to work with each landowner to make sure all the phragmites in Lancaster County gets treated this fall. If you are aware of a patch of phragmites on your acreage and would like more information about helicopter treatment you are encouraged to contact our office.

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Invasive Weeds

Invasive species are those species that are not native to the ecosystem and those whose introduction can cause economic or ecosystem harm as well as human health problems.  Invasive species are not regulated by law.  It is allowable for invasive species to grow on your land, but they need to be monitored to ensure that they do not encroach into areas where they are not wanted.  There are many species that are invasive including, but not limited to: Russian olive, autumn olive, st. John's wort, amur honeysuckle, kudzu, and scotch thistle.

Follow this link for more information about invasive weeds:

Nebraska Invasive Species Project