KOAM’s Michael Hayslip sits down with Keith Martin from the Wildcat District to learn more about Sericea Lespedeza and steps you can take to control the noxious weed in your pastures.
Here is information about Sericea Lespedeza from the Crawford County, KS website:
Sericea Lespedeza · Lespedeza cuneata (Dumont) G. Don · is a very aggressive, drought-hardy perennial. It was introduced as a forage crop in the Southeastern United States. As early as the 1930s, Sericea was also used for erosion control and wildlife habitats in Kansas. It is now found primarily in native rangeland, CRP, and roadsides in the eastern 1/3 of Kansas. Plants have a dark green foliage that contrasts the native grass color in the early fall . Lespedeza has small, white, purple tinged flowers that bloom in late summer and produce large amounts of seed. It also has a semi-woody stem and can reach five feet in height.
Sericea is a problem because of its ability to compete with native bunch type grasses. It's aggressive behavior allows it to choke out existing vegetation. Sericea also contains a tannin that makes it unpalatable to livestock for most of the grazing season. It can also tolerate and survive most common weed control practices used by farmers and ranchers.
Sericea Lespedeza is spread and proliferates mainly by using rangeland for double stocking cattle or winter pasture, late native hay harvesting wildlife habitat. Some CRP areas were planted with sericea-contaminated seed.
During the 1998 Kansas Legislative session, lawmakers amended the Kansas Noxious Weed Law to include Sericea Lespedeza as a noxious weed. The statue was written to allow time for further research and sericea did not officially become a "noxious weed" until July 1, 2000. Counties had the option to make it a noxious weed within their borders early, by resolution and publication. This allowed for enforcement and cost-share chemical availability, but did not address the movement of sericea seed in grass forage seed.
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