Davis: Controlling Johnsongrass in summer months

Published 3:24 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summer is here and so is the Johnsongrass!

But first, I want to introduce the newest member of the Clark County Cooperative Extension family, Clark County’s own Kendal Bowman.

He will serve as Clark County’s Agriculture and Natural Resource intern for the summer. He is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University pursuing degrees in agriculture education and horticulture, with a minor in soils and livestock management.

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Many know him from the Boonesboro Animal Clinic, where he has worked for the past seven years. Upon graduation, Kendal hopes to become an extension agent.

“My ambition is to do something in life where I can give back and make a difference in others’ lives, so why not combine my passion for agriculture with my desire to educate and make an impact on others’ lives and become an extension agent?” Bowman said.

As part of his internship, he will do his project on Johnsongrass.

Have you ever accidentally pulled out in front of somebody because you couldn’t see past the Johnsongrass on the side of the highway?

It’s a common mistake I’ve witnessed. The Johnsongrass has become a hazard along roadways in Clark County.

As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to maintain the roadway along your property.

Johnsongrass is an invasive perennial grass reaching 6 feet in height if not controlled. Johnsongrass is also a drought-tolerant noxious weed, so when it becomes dry and other grasses are dying off, Johnsongrass will still survive and flourish.

Johnsongrass may reproduce by seedlings or rhizomes. Rhizomes are creeping underground stems that spread and form new tillers. Rhizomes develop six to nine weeks after germination. Seedlings and rhizomes may spread by the way of your equipment. This may include your lawn mowers, tractors, brush cutters, combines or vehicles. It is important to remember to wash your equipment after you finish or when traveling between fields.

Johnsongrass is difficult to control but with the proper maintenance practices, it is possible.

Some management and preventive options may be mowing very close to the ground, using a weed-wiper or spot spraying.

If you take the organic approach and only mowing, the Johnsongrass it will take many applications to get it under control.

Using a weed-wiper (rope wick applicator) and spraying are less labor intensive and more efficient.

If you are a homeowner or farmer and are concerned with the safety, liability and management of this nuisance weed, please attend a workshop Kendal will be conducting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Jack Wise’s farm, 7245 Ecton Road. A meal will be provided.

To register or for more information, call the Clark County Extension Office at 744-4682.

Kendal Bowman is the Clark County Cooperative Extension intern for agriculture and natural resources. David Davis is the extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.