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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Keep Mesquite From Taking Over

LAS CRUCES--Ranchers should spray native mesquite plants now to allow forage plants to grow and thrive, said a range specialist with New Mexico State University.

"Typically, the best time to spray mesquite is 45 to 90 days after bud break," said Keith Duncan with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. "This time period is normally from the first of June to mid-July."

When mesquite becomes too thick, it tends to dominate rangeland, he said. When this happens, competing grasses and forage plants do not receive the moisture, minerals, space and sunlight they need to grow.

Duncan said ranchers should consider the area to be sprayed and the physical condition of the mesquite before deciding whether to spray this year.

When spraying mesquite plants, ranchers need to make sure they are in good physical shape. "When plants are stressed by drought, insect or hail damage, the herbicide is not absorbed into the plant," Duncan said.

Winds also can affect spraying conditions. Winds and high temperatures cause plants to put on a heavy wax coat, making it difficult for herbicide to penetrate, he said.

For more information, contact the local county Extension office.