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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Broom Snakeweed Found in Abundance in Eastern New Mexico

LAS CRUCES - Broom snakeweed is flourishing in eastern New Mexico thanks to spring rainfall. But now is not the time to spray, said a range specialist with New Mexico State University.

"The proper time to control broom snakeweed with herbicides is in the fall after the plants bloom," said Keith Duncan with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.

Broom snakeweed germinates when there is winter and early spring moisture, he said. Seedlings appear in the early spring.

"The snakeweed causes problems with other vegetation because it takes over and begins to kill competing grasses and forage for livestock," Duncan said.

As livestock eat the plant, it affects their reproductive systems' resulting in abortions in pregnant females. Duncan suggests that ranchers and land managers wait to spray broom snakeweed for two reasons. The hot and dry summer weather usually kills the seedlings due to lack of moisture. Secondly, research indicates the best time to spray broom snakeweed is in the fall.

"If the snakeweed plants are still there in the fall, that is the time to spray them," he said. "The plant can be sprayed from the full bloom through the first part of December."

For more information, contact your local county Extension office.