Weeds have exploded recently in many pastures, reports Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension forage specialist in his latest “Hay & Forage Minutes.” Anderson says recent summer rains have stimulated unchecked growth of ragweed, ironweed, goldenrod and vervain in areas without the competition of thick, relatively tall grass.

Spraying weeds now does little good, Anderson says, but shredding would actually work better to reduce weed seeds if it’s not already too late.

However, two other approaches are more important for long-term weed control, he points out.

  • First, do more rotational grazing next year to improve the health, vigor and density of your grass. In particular, leave more residue when rotating to maintain higher competition. Healthy, competitive grass stands are essential to reduce weed populations economically.

  • Second, target herbicide applications for when they will do the most good. Early to mid-June usually is most effective, especially with herbicides like Grazon, Curtail, 2,4-D and Banvel, he says. Most perennial weeds, and many annuals, are sensitive to chemicals in June. Weed control, along with good grazing, will thicken your grass stands so herbicides won’t be needed as often in the future.
“Don’t let weeds take over your pasture, but don’t spend money controlling them needlessly. A good plan will work best,” Anderson says.