Noxious Weed Season Battle Opens In Earnest With Focus On Whitetop (Hoary Cress) Control
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The Strategy: This noxious weed occurs sporadically throughout the valley. It is an escaped perennial ornamental that was originally brought in as a ground cover. The plant grows less than 18 inches in height. Multiple branches grow off of the root system and each has white flowers at its terminal end which appears as a carpet of white. It has an integrated root system that allows it to creep into unwanted places and spreads if roots are carried in the soil. Leaves are light green with a distinctive white midvein.
The Attack: This perennial plant is one of the first noxious weeds to appear in the spring, with a quick formation of white buds. The plant has rhizomatous roots (spreading) that allow the plant to spread into lawns, established plantings, and even push up roadways. Since it occurs early and develops very thick canopies, it easily chokes out desirable plants, and its diverse root system allows the plant to absorb most of the water and nutrients.
The Defense: Mechanical control is not very effective. Many people that dig, disk, or plow this plant notice it comes back with a vengeance in a few weeks. No biological control insects are available for this plant. There is one class of herbicides that work well: one ounce of Telar or Escort during the budding stage will grant the landowner 98 percent weed control. Opensight is another product that works well. These products are very safe to use in a pastures and one does not have to remove the livestock during application. 2,4-D and Roundup will only set the plant back a few weeks.
ERADICATING WHITETOP (HOARY CRESS)
PLEASE NOTE – The proper use and application of herbicides can be an effective way to control and eradicate noxious and invasive plants. Before using herbicides, always carefully follow the label and safety instructions on the label. While we recommend the use of herbicides as one of the effective tools for integrated pest management, the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign assumes no liability for herbicide applications.