Weed ID Wednesday – Bitter Sneezeweed

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Bitter Sneezeweed is a warm season annual weed that has a bright yellow flower in June and July. It typically grows 8 to 20 inches tall, has narrow leaves, and can quickly spread if not addressed. Bitter sneezeweed thrives in over grazed areas and if it is heavily present, an evaluation of the grazing system will need to take place.

Ask yourself these questions to start:

  1. Have you taken a soil sample in the last three years?
    1. If you have taken a soil sample recently, did you apply lime and fertilizer per those recommendations?
  2. What measures do you take to ensure that your pasture is not overgrazed?
    1. What is your stocking rate? (# of animals per acre)
    2. Do you rotate pastures?
    3. How short is your grass when you rotate?

Bitter sneezeweed contains a toxin, that if consumed by grazing animals, can cause medical issues. It is not very palatable and is not typically consumed in large enough quantities to be of much concern. However, it can cause the milk and meat of lactating or animals being fed out to taste bitter.

Mowing can help reduce the number of seed produced that year but will not be enough for long term control. Hand pulling can be effective if the number of plants is small enough to be feasible. Chemical control with proper timing of application and use of herbicide per the label, should provide adequate control. Changes to the grazing system will also need to be implemented to see long term improvements.

Don’t wait until you see the flower this summer to start thinking about bitter sneezeweed control. Scout your pastures early and plan ahead. Call your local extension agent for more assistance.

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