DOVER – Two weeds that have been gradually spreading into Delaware fields and threatening farm crops are now being targeted by the Delaware Department of Agriculture.
The weeds – Palmer amaranth and Texas panicum – have officially been placed on the state’s noxious weed list, which allows officials to begin educating landowners about the best ways to control them.
“Our landowners can now get help to protect their properties from these invading weeds, the start of a solid defense against crop damage that will lower costs for farmers,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee.
In May, the Department of Agriculture issued a proposal to add the weeds to the list, which includes four other species that create problems for Delaware farmers and landowners. The expanded list went into effect Aug. 11.
The new weeds have been problems in the South, but are relatively new to Delaware. Texas panicum grows rapidly and emerges throughout the growing season; Palmer amaranth takes nutrients and moisture from crops and makes harvesting difficult. Palmer amaranth has also become resistant to certain herbicides.
The proposal was backed by the state’s Weed Advisory Committee, which advises the Secretary of Agriculture on weed issues. It includes a farmer from each county, Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed Supervisor Todd Davis, and Dr. Mark VanGessel, a University of Delaware Plant and Soil Science professor and extension specialist.
The Department’s Noxious Weed Program assists property owners with management of these weeds by providing information on identification, management and control. The Department also loans herbicide application equipment at no charge to farmers and other qualified landowners, decreasing the cost.
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture