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Grass Burrs

A severe drought that is followed by a period of ample rainfall sets all kinds of things into motion, and in this week’s From The Ground Up, Joe Brown says conditions are ripe for the emergence of a pest that affects homeowners and ag producers alike…the increased probability of a bumper crop of grass burrs.

"This of course is what is most highly recognizable later on in the season as the plants start to form the seed head. Once this falls to the ground, actually, these are seed producing or seed carrying capsules. Inside each one of these is the grass burr seed. The grass burr seed of course soaks up moisture that’s coming from the capsule and then germinates within the capsule and forms the plant from that standpoint. After which time, of course the plant will continue to grow and produce more seed."

Dr. Paul Baumann is a professor and weed specialist with Texas Agrilife Extension.

"If grass burr infests bales of hay, or the crop that a particular hay producer is trying to sell, it does have a very negative effect."

Economically speaking, the negative impact in Texas is around one hundred million dollars a year.

"What makes grass burr so difficult to kill is like any other grass weed species that we might have within a grass crop. Anytime you’re trying to get the selectivity down to where you’re in effect removing a grassy weed, yet not harming the grass crop, that is a tall order."

Years of research is beginning to pay dividends.

"We’re not quite there yet, but we’ve made some great advances in terms of being able to get it before the seed comes up, as well as in the early foliar stages of the plant where the plant is still relatively small we can very effectively eliminate it."

So whether it’s your lawn, a hay meadow, or a pasture, you’ve missed the chance to get after grass burrs with a pre-emergent herbicide before they come up, so get to the plants early, or you’ll be fighting a losing battle. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley Agriculture, From The Ground Up.


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