Pasture Weed Control – Cool Season Broadleaf Weeds

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Remember the persistent weeds you see in the spring time in your pastures and hayfields? Especially the pesky little yellow flowers? Did you know there is something you can do in the next few weeks to help with those?

There is a category of pasture weeds called “cool season broadleaf weeds”, meaning that they start growing in the fall into early winter and will produce seeds in the spring time as they reach the end of the cooler season. They are most tender and small in the fall, which usually makes them easier to control.

It is important to control unwanted species in pastures and hayfields to prevent them from out-competing desirable forage species. Pasture management practices that improve and promote growth of desirable plants during the time these cool season weeds are emerging is one of the best methods to help compete against the growth of this plant. Livestock animals that are allowed to overgraze fields during the fall and winter months result in one of the main factors that contribute to cool season pasture weed problems.

An herbicide application can help reduce the population of weeds but when combined with good pasture management techniques throughout the year to help improve and thicken the stand of desirable forages, you’ll see better results.

Heading into fall is a good time to make a plan for controlling these weeds, so what all do you need to think about?

  1. Grazing Management
    1. What is your stocking rate?
    2. Do you use rotational grazing?
    3. Is your grass getting any rest?
  2. Soil Fertility
    1. Have you taken a soil sample recently?
    2. When was the last time you applied lime?
  3. Herbicide Options /  Timing
    1. What weeds do you have? Don’t choose an herbicide without knowing what you’re actually wanting to control!
    2. Read ALL labels carefully and follow instructions only from the label.
    3. Scout for your weeds, identify them, see that they are young and growing, consider grazing and fertility needs too, and THEN decide if an herbicide application fits into your plan.

What are some common cool season broadleaf weeds?

In pastures and hayfields in our area, we most commonly see buttercup, plantain, chickweed, henbit, purple deadnettle, and others! Reference the pictures below to refresh your memory on what you may have seen in your fields!


Purple Deadnettle

Common Chickweed