How do I deal with mitigating or getting rid of Western Salsify in my pasture?

Asked May 24, 2015, 5:23 PM EDT

We have about 3.5 acres of pasture on our property that we hay. Our pasture is predominantly smooth brome and orchard grass. The pasture is doing fantastic with all of the rain we have had this month and we haven't irrigated yet. One section of our pasture has a lot of Western Salsify that we would like to get ride of. It is about as tall as the pasture grass and has flowered. Can we assume that once we get some consistent sunshine that the pasture grass will choke out the Western salsify before it can go to seed and/or before we cut our pasture? If not, then do you suggest a broadcast spray of any particular herbicide? Many thanks for your help.

Boulder County Colorado

3 Responses

Salsify is an annual so the key to management is keeping it from going to seed. If it is already blooming, then it will shortly be producing seed if it isn't already. You can pull out the plants or cut off the flower heads but it will produce a second flower that will also have to be cut off. This will be tough to do at this point. With the afternoon rains it will also be tough to get a window of a couple of days with it dry enough and long enough to spray. The seeds may also continue to mature after you spray the plants. Once the salsify blooms and produces seed, it will die for this year. So this first cutting is when it will be in the hay. It won't be growing for any subsequent cuttings. Since you know this area is a problem, you could spray it next year with 2,4-D.

Hi Sharon...can the horses still eat the hay if it is cut with the salsify in the grass? Also. If we choose to spray next year, when do you suggest doing a broadcast spray?

The horses will eat the hay and may leave the salsify alone. The one thing to make sure of is that it is dried completely before baling. Otherwise it may mold and cause problems in the bale. Next year spray it before it even starts to flower. You may not recognize it early on but once the stem starts to elongate, you should recognize it and you can spray. The label on the herbicide will also provide you with information on timing of the application.