THE ENEMY: Halogeton (Halogeton glomeratus)
Strategy: An annual weed imported from Asia that grows in heavily disturbed areas such as roadways, sheep trails, and over grazed pastures. It particularly likes alkaline soils and semi-arid areas of high-desert winter livestock ranges such as the area west of Idaho Falls. It is small growing plant with red succulent looking stems and small green tubular leaves. It is extremely toxic to livestock especially sheep. It is responsible for thousands of livestock poisonings each year.
Attack: This is not a plant that is extremely competitive but it is the first plant to grow once an area becomes heavily disturbed. Is short growing, usually 5-6 inches in height, but has been known to grow as tall as 18 inches. The plant produces thousands of seeds thus once established it is difficult to keep from reproducing. In fact it can go so thick it looks like a red/green carpet over the soils.
Defense: The greatest defense for this weed is proper land stewardship. Maintaining a healthy range and pasture is key to preventing this weed from growing. Once established consistent-dedicated weed control efforts are a must. Mechanical control will work for small infestations. Once the species becomes a major problem using Escort XP, Telar XP, or Chaparral (watch for damage to Sagebrush with this last product) with a surfactant is best. Early in the season 2,4-D ester works. Late fall application of these products will put the product on the ground for next springs weed control. Either way if you don’t plan a revegetation program, your efforts will be useless. As this is a desert invader, the best time to plant your new seeds is in the fall or early spring. Remember, keep your range, pasture, or open fields healthy. Call a professional for proper identification.