Home Farm Equipment New weed to watch: Roughstalk bluegrass

New weed to watch: Roughstalk bluegrass


For a lot of growers, wheat harvest is nearly finished and second reducing is probably going full. However in the event you observed a golden-brown grass overtaking your inexperienced wheat heads early in June, you might have run into roughstalk bluegrass.

A longtime downside in turf, roughstalk bluegrass is now turning into a difficulty in winter wheat and forages in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and certain different states within the area.

“It appears that roughstalk bluegrass may be a bigger problem than we had anticipated. It showed up in local wheat fields last year, and it became a bigger problem this spring. This has been a very good year for cool-season grasses,” writes Les Ober, a licensed crop adviser and program assistant for agriculture and pure assets for Ohio State Cooperative Extension.

“Roughstalk bluegrass has continued to be a problem in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The primary places where this weed is a challenge are in forage fields with grass-alfalfa mixes and in winter wheat,” writes Phil Kaatz, a Michigan State Extension educator in Lapeer County.

In a latest Penn State crops alert, weed Extension educator Dwight Lingenfelter warned about roughstalk bluegrass, and that it was turning into extra of an issue in forage and wheat fields within the state.

Powerful weed to crack

In contrast to a typical bluegrass that often grows low to the bottom and in clumps, roughstalk bluegrass can develop up to 3 ft tall. It additionally matures earlier within the season and, as soon as established, might be tough to eradicate in a wheat discipline or earlier than a primary reducing of alfalfa. In actual fact, it will probably overtake a wheat discipline or alfalfa discipline, decreasing yields and forage high quality.

A cool-season perennial, it has stolons that permit it to simply develop again annually. However it will probably additionally unfold if it’s allowed to set seeds earlier than the summer time warmth, particularly in wheat. As soon as it will get too sizzling, like proper now, it goes dormant.

“By now the tall stalks and seed heads should have dried and shattered, and the stalks will be falling down,” Lingenfelter says. “However, the plant produces stolons near its base, and they will be the problem once late summer and fall temperatures start to drop. The seeds can also start to germinate later this year.”

As soon as the weed begins to seed in a wheat discipline, although, nothing can successfully management it, together with herbicides, Lingenfelter provides.

TOUGH TO BATTLE: As soon as roughstalk bluegrass will get established in a wheat discipline, it may be practically inconceivable to management. Management in forages is even tougher due to the potential collateral harm to different grasses.

TOUGH TO BATTLE: As soon as roughstalk bluegrass will get established in a wheat discipline, it may be practically inconceivable to management. Management in forages is even tougher due to the potential collateral harm to different grasses.

Ober has seen this together with his personal eyes in some fields in Ohio.

“I have seen roughstalk populations reach the point where the wheat had to be cut for haylage,” he says. “This field has now been sprayed with glyphosate. However, control may be questionable because the roughstalk may already be in early dormancy due to the extreme summer heat we are experiencing.”

Do battle in fall

The excellent news is that fall presents a possibility to management roughstalk bluegrass, if you will get to it early.

“In general, since it is a cool-season species it can grow in cooler temps, so applications around October will likely be effective,” Lingenfelter says. “Also, there is some data that certain herbicides can be effective in early spring when the forage is still dormant. However, an application in April or May will likely provide better activity.”

“In the fall, the best options are Osprey or Osprey Xtra [rated good-to-excellent]. However, these herbicides are not 100%, so it can still continue to be a challenge. These two herbicides are rated excellent for early spring control in winter wheat for roughstalk,” Kaatz says, including that winter wheat following forage will usually have the best incidence of roughstalk bluegrass. “In winter wheat, many producers may not see the grass unless they are scouting early in the season. However, when the grain starts to mature, roughstalk will grow above the wheat, and they realize there’s now a problem.”

Christy Sprague, Extension specialist with Michigan State, says it’s greatest to spray as soon as winter wheat is planted and has emerged this fall.

“This is about the time that the majority of roughstalk bluegrass has started to germinate,” Sprague says. “We now have noticed superb management with early spring functions [mid- to late April] of Osprey, Osprey Xtra and Axial Daring. As we transfer extra into Might, roughstalk bluegrass is beginning to head out, and herbicide functions don’t work as effectively.

“We have seen usually by early June, roughstalk bluegrass turns golden at maturity, and it generally drops its seed prior to wheat harvest. It will be a golden brown for two to three weeks prior to wheat starting to turn. We have observed up to a 50% reduction in winter wheat yield with a solid stand of roughstalk bluegrass. With lighter infestations, the yield loss has not been as great.”

What does it appear to be?

Roughstalk bluegrass appears related to turf bluegrass, however the large distinction is that the leaves are folded within the bud. It will get its title from the truth that there are various small hairs on the leaf floor and margin.

The leaves are yellow-green and glossy, however will flip pink throughout drought and warmth.


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