Wild cucumber in hay/horse pasture
Hi, I talked with someone last year concerning "wild cucumber" in my hay/horse pasture. I lost my whole crop of hay last year. The farmer wouldn't cut and bale with the wild cucumber in it. He said it was poisonous even after it is dead? I did what the gentleman from OSU Extension Service told me to do: We cut it, sprayed the field with Weedmaster and let it sit over winter. I mowed again in fall after spraying. This spring it is BACK! I'm just sick. I have marked each plant with a tall stake, at least 50 stakes, and sprayed with Weedmaster. Most died, some probably didn't have enough leaves and they are still alive. I've staked new weeds and am spraying again this weekend. QUESTION: Some of the plants I sprayed with Weedmaster didn't die. I read where Roundup might work, knowing that I'd kill the grass around it? QUESTION: Once the weeds die, can I go pick up my stakes, cut the weeds and put in plastic bag, and let the farmer take crop and graze my horses? QUESTION: Will horses eat the new weeds that may come up or those that I missed or will it taste bitter to them? They don't eat tansy for instance. Thank you so much. I'm losing sleep over those darn weeds!!!
Clackamas County Oregon
Thank you for your response. I appreciate that you are still researching whether or not I can let my horses graze on the good grass and if they will leave the wild cucumber alone, providing it will be bitter to them.
Also, which herbicide is the best? Roundup or Weedmaster? At this point I don't care if I kill some grass. I just want the weed to die.
And, am I doing the right thing to cut the weed once totally dead and bag and dispose of it so the seeds don't spread?
Thank you so much! Fighting weeds is not fun!
I was able to do some more research regarding the wild cucumber. There is not a lot on the poisonous part of it other than it is poisonous. The compound that makes the plant poisonous is called curcurbitacin. This is the same compound that makes some eating cucumbers bitter. It is a natural compound for the cucumber to protect itself from insects and fungus. The stem and leaves contain the most curcurbitacin. I have attached a website that has some good information regarding using herbicides to kill/manage the wild cucumber.
I would recommend removing the dead vines after the herbicide has done its job. If you can remove the tap root as well this will also help.
I hope this helps a bit more.