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I was out combing the countryside with Maverick this weekend, and I saw an alarming trend. Almost EVERY pothole was lined with a yellow flower, something I don't recall seeing heavily in the past. If this is nothing more than my imagination, PLEASE let me know. I'm only bringing this up for enviromental purposes.

Here's what I saw in every slough:







What I want to know if whether this IS or NOT leafy spurge? From there I'm looking into the negative effects it has on the habitat.

Here's what muzzy inputed on the subject:

muzzy said:
Leafy spurge has a number of problems with it. Leafy spurge is a
plant that is native to Europe and the temperate areas of Asia. It is
thought to have been brought over to North America in a shipment in
contaminated grain when the country was young. It has been
traditionally a problem with people who have pastures. It out competes
grasses, forbs, and other vital plants. It is a very invasive species.
Horses and cattle typically will not graze on leafy spurge and it could
be potentially poisonous to them. The only domestic animal I can think
of that eats it is goats, which are used for to control it in instances.

I am not sure of all the habitat problems that it might create,
but anytime a noxious weed takes over, it will degrade the natural
habitat that occurs there. I did some checking, and the Northern Plains
Wildlife Research Center did a study on the impacts of leafy spurge on
nesting waterfowl.

Controlling leafy spurge is very hard at best. The typical
control procedures are chemical, biological, or mechanical. The reason
that leafy spurge is so hard to eradicate is its roots. The plant is
very hardy, and even if the top is killed, the plant can keep coming
back from the roots. The seeds of leafy spurge have been known to lay
dormant in the soil for 7 years and then sprout, so repeated spraying
for multiple years is necessary to control it. Traditional sprays such
as 2,4-D and Roundup have limited use, and must be used multiple times a
year for many years in a row. Tordon is about the best chemical to use
on it (it is often mixed with 2,4-D), and you still may have to spray
several years in a row. The goats I mentioned before don't actually do
much as they graze the top of the plant and the roots are unharmed.
There might even be instances if the goats would eat the seeds of leafy
spurge and spread the seeds around in their manure when they defecate.
That is not a really good solution. The mechanical methods are not of
much use as it leaves the root intact, however if the grass is mowed
continuously the plant will not be able to make seeds and spread. The
biological control utilizing various invertebrates seems to hold the
most promise. There are currently 10 species of "bugs" that are used to
control leafy spurge which range from moths, caterpillars, beetles, etc.
In ND the root mining flea beetle is the bug of choice. This is what we
currently use and have seem pretty good success on our game management
areas. It is cheaper in both chemical costs and manpower. The bugs
work 24/7, and feed by boring down into the root which is needed to kill
the plant.

Some of the worst stands I have seen have been in the state road
ditches. Here in Grand Forks County I have noticed the last couple of
weeks that the interstate and several of the state two lane highways are
just inundated with it. This would be the ND DOT's responsibility, and
they do spray, but it is some of the worst spurge I have seen. It is
the landowners responsibility, and if you see some really bad a call to
their county weed board could be a solution. It is not only a private
landowners responsibility, as a lot of the worst stands are in road
ditches, etc. The USFWS has taken some hits on their management
practices as far as weed control, and you can find problems anywhere.
Please input whether or not this is an issue to the ND wetlands.

Thanks guys for the input,

Chris
 

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I dont know if you saw my reply on the fuge, but this is not leafy spurge. Leafy spurge is also yellow, but it does not have anyting like this type of flower. Just look in the road ditches, those patches of yellow are spurge, this is something else.

Bioman, I hope you see this, chime in. Those are pretty fair pictures. I will comment more later today. You are right though Chris, it is everywhere in SEND and NESD. But if it stays where it is now it is not much of a problem, IMHO. If the water comes up it will flood right ot and just make for better brood water. As long as it stays out of the upland it is less of a big deal. Spurge is bad because it degrades the upland so much. You almost never find it right on the edge of a wetland. It prefers a little drier site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
tsodak,

The one thing that got me wondering that it wasn't, was the fact it was void in the ditches. Kind of freeked me out a bit, as I just don't remember seeing that yellow flower to that degree.

Well it's good to know, thanks.
 

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Yep, if I would have seen the pictures right away, I could have let you know that it wasn't leafy spurge. Doesn't hurt to be on the lookout anyway.

Anyway, I hope the information on leafy spurge was what you were looking for.
 

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This is actually a plant from the mustard family by the common name of Princes Plume. I am told it is nothing to really worry about at this point, just a freak comination of dropping water levels, and just the right weather bringing it on. Sounds like chemical control is not difficult, but with different weather it will just fade back to an uncommon plant. Tom
 

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Chris:

Muzzy and Tom are 100% correct, that is not leafy spurge. Due to the extreme density, my first guess is the plant belongs in the mustard family and it may be Dyer's woad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bruce Hanson, of the U.S.G.S. Biological Resources Discipline
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, claims it is "swamp ragwort, Senecio congestus, which is a native annual species."
 

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I have noticed the same thing this year in the central portion of the state as well. Nothing as thick as shown in these photos but it seems every pothole you go buy has a ring of these plants around them.

The area I noticed was from Hurdsfield to Steele and from Tuttle to Pingree and north to Carrington.
 
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