Missouri officials combat spotted knapweed

Thursday, October 4, 2012 | 7:32 a.m. CDT; updated 9:37 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 4, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri conservation officials are battling a weed that can force out other plants used as food for livestock and wildlife.

Spotted knapweed was reported in Missouri in 1933 and is established in about 40 percent of the state.

Now, officials are trying a technique in southern Missouri that involves insects, such as a beetle that attacks the roots and eats seeds. The strategy has been used elsewhere, and there are no reports of the insects attacking other plants.

Spotted knapweed looks similar to wild lettuce with pink flowers that look like thistles. The weed produces chemicals making it harder for other plants to grow and is found especially along major roads. Each plant can produce more than 1,000 seeds.

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Michael Williams October 4, 2012 | 9:20 a.m.

Common teasel, seracia lespedeza, johnson grass, bush honeysuckle (especially in Columbia woods), autumn olive...........

Spotted knapweed isn't our only problem.

You note that teasel, knapweed, and seracia infestations usually start around highways. Having used a shredder on pastures and knowing how much plant matter/seed the decks will accumulate in only an hour-or-so, I'm reasonably convinced these invasives are moving around the state on MoDOT equipment rather than the generally accepted trucker responsibility.

MoDOT: Let's clean the decks more often, ESPECIALLY before moving from one locale to another.

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