NDSU Extension - Burke County


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Invasive Weeds

County Agent News
Dan Folske
June 4, 2018 

Invasive Weeds

Invasive weeds are plants which, when introduced into an area have few or no natural predators or diseases and can out compete and crowd out the existing vegetation. The individual plants may be desirable in some situations as ornamentals, forages, ground cover, food, etc. However, when they begin to spread and dominate the areas they become problems.

Common Burdock

          Common Burdock is currently found scattered around Burke County and seems to be spreading. The two key features of this plant which make it noticeable areCommon Burdock the large (3/4 inch) burs which stick to clothing and animal fur and the large rhubarb like leaves. Sometimes called wild rhubarb the basal leaves can often be the size and shape of rhubarb leaves but instead of being dark and glossy like rhubarb these are a paler green and covered with fuzzy hairs.  Because of spreading via burs stuck to animals it often gets started in trees where deer and other animals seek cover and shelter. It often has spread throughout a tree grove before it is discovered and control with herbicides is limited because of its proximity to trees. It is a biennial which forms a rosette the first year and bolts and flowers on the second year. It is native to North America and the roots can be dug and eaten.

          The plant is a biennial forming a basal rosette the first year and sending up a mainstem the second year. The stems are often 5 to six feet tall. The flowers are pink and somewhat thistle like in appearance but do not get fuzzy after blooming. The flower buds are covered with Velcro like hooks.

          Like many biennials the rosettes are easily control with 2,4-D and other herbicides but the second year plants are tough to kill with herbicides, especially after the stems have begun to elongate.

Yellow Toadflax

Yellow Toadflax          Yellow Toadflax is another ornamental turned invasive noxious weed. The snapdragon like flowers, of this plant was commonly found in flower beds across North Dakota. Sometimes called “Butter-and-eggs” this hardy plant has moved out of flower beds to become a very difficult to control in pastures and fields. It is currently found in several locations in Burke County. It is present in Bowbells and Flaxton and in some rural locations.

          It is a very hardy perennial which is difficult to control with herbicides. In locations where Tordon can be used the Burke County Weedboard has had some success at controlling this invasive weed but the results have not been consistant. A new product from Dupont is showing very promising results in trials in Ward County. However, yellow toadflax is often found in alleys, vacant lots, and cemetaries where the use of herbicides is severely limited.


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