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      Sunday, December 21, 2014

(Senecio vulgaris)

ORIGIN: Europe

HABITAT: Grows mainly in cultivated soil but may be found in alfalfa fields, pastures or along roadsides.

DESCRIPTION: Annual, winter annual or possibly biennial which reproduces only by seed.

STEMS: 10-40 cm high, hollow, branched, smooth, erect or reclining, fleshy.

LEAVES: Five to 15 cm long, lower ones stalked, upper clasping at base, alternate, variable in shape from almost toothless to deeply lobed, smooth, somewhat fleshy.

FLOWERS: Heads, no ray florets, 0.5 cm across, yellow, in clusters at ends of stem and branches, bracts surrounding each flower usually have distinct black tips.

SEEDS: Narrow, 2.5 mm long, tan, covered with short, white bristles, prominent white hairs on one end (pappus)

CULTURAL CONTROL PRACTICES:

Groundsel produces many seeds so it is important to control the plants before seed has been set. Shallow tillage in fall and early spring will control winter and some spring annuals. Mowing hay fields before seed set will prevent the infestation from spreading by seed. Grazing will do the same in pastures although it should be noted that groundsel can cause liver damage in cattle if it becomes a large part of the diet. Good management practices in hay fields and pastures such as fertilization and no overmowing or overgrazing will help to produce a competitive crop which will choke the weed out.

CHEMICAL CONTROL PRACTICES:

Please refer to Saskatchewan Agriculture's Guide to Crop Protection for current herbicide rates and application recommendations.

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