Friday, August 26, 2016

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White Bryony & Musk Thistle - Noxious Weeds
Plaguing Eastern Idaho Landowners

            A pair of nasty, invasive noxious weeds, including one that closely resembles the smothering Kudzu vine of the southern United States, are creating difficulties for Idaho landowners, especially in the Eastern Idaho region, state noxious weed officials said today.

“County weed control experts in Eastern Idaho are reporting infestations of both White Bryony and Musk Thistle,” said Roger Batt, Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign coordinator.

White Bryony is a vigorous perennial climbing vine that poses a major destructive potential to native vegetation.  This noxious weed (also known as Western Kudzu) forms dense mats, which shades out all vegetation that it creeps upon, eventually killing it.  It’s rapidly growing vines can reach a length of 50-feet that can cover the tops of trees in a single season.

White Bryony is a very difficult weed to control and has a large tuberous root system that resembles a beet or turnip. So far the best tool is to simply dig up this root system; bearing in mind that each fibrous root-hair left behind may develop into a new tuber.

“Be sure to place the tuber and other parts of the root system into a garbage bag because if you leave it on the ground it can actually re-root itself,” Batt said.

Another invasive noxious weed, Musk Thistle (also known as Nodding Thistle), is a very distinctive biennial plant.  It is a tall thistle (generally around 6-feet in height) with a baseball size flower head that droops.  In its first-year it forms a rosette and in the second-year produces multiple stalks that produce pink flowers.  A single flower head may produce approximately 1,200 seeds.
“This thistle is very invasive. It spreads by wind so it can easily migrate to nearby lands. In pastures and other grazing lands the sharp points of this thistle will force livestock away which can eventually lead to the loss of food for these animals.” Batt added.

Musk Thistle can be controlled with a shovel but at least 4 inches of the root need to be taken up or it will grow back.  Herbicide recommendations for the control of Musk Thistle include Opensight ® by Dow AgroSciences for earlier season control and management, and Telar XP ® by Bayer for late season applications to significantly reduce seed viability. When using an herbicide always follow the label and safety instructions on that herbicide label.

These weeds are two of the 67 noxious weeds listed in Idaho. Invasive weeds have already infested 8 million acres of Idaho’s lands and pose a serious threat to Idaho’s economy, ecology and agriculture, causing an estimated $300 million annually in direct damages. State and private landowners annually spend upwards of $30 million to combat noxious weeds. 

For more information about White Bryony, Musk Thistle and the rest of Idaho’s noxious weeds logon to the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign’s website at: or follow us on Facebook @IdahoWeedAwareness.  Idahoans can also contact their County Weed Superintendent or a private applicator for technical assistance in dealing with noxious weeds.

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