UT Beef and Forage Center

Weed, Pest, and Disease Management

Regardless of whether it is a tall fescue and legume pasture, a bermudagrass hay field or an alfalfa hay field; most annual and perennial broadleaf weeds reduce forage yield, palatability and quality. This is particularly true if heavy populations are not controlled on a timely basis and are allowed to reach maturity. In a pasture they also reduce grazing efficiency, which means cattle spend more time picking through and around weeds looking for grass and less time eating.

The bottom line is that unmanaged weeds are one of several things contributing to lower forage and animal production. This section of our website will address weed managment topics related to forage production, stewardship, pests, and methods for control of invasive species.

For help on weed id, please visit Tennessee Weed Identification Guide

Use our Poisonous Plants of the South guide with basic information on regional poisonous plants which can be harmful to livestock. Learn to recognize common poisonous plants and immediately contact a veterinarian if poisoning is suspected.




Arrowleaf Sida/Prickly Sida
Arrowleaf sida, also known as ironweed (not to be confused with tall ironweed) is an erect, summer annual herb.
Prickly sida, also an erect, summer annual herb, is more commonly known as false-mallow, Indian mallow, spiny sida or teaweed. Both arrowleaf and prickly sida are members of the mallow (Malvaceae) family and are native to North America.

Nodding Spurge
Nodding spurge is an erect, summer annual herb that is a member of the family Euphorbiaceae. It is closely related to, and often confused with, spotted spurge, Chamaesyce maculata (L.) Small. This native of North America occurs throughout Tennessee; it is a troublesome weed in row and vegetable crops, ornamentals, rights-ofway, pastures and hay fields, and many other situations.

Insect and Plant Disease Recommendations for Field Crops
Recommendations for Tennessee insect and pest control for cotton, soybeans, field corn, sorghum, wheat and pasture.

Weed Control Manual for Tennessee
This manual contains the weed control recommendations for corn, grain, sorghum, cotton, soybeans, burley and dark tobacco, wheat, forage crops, switchgrass and farm ponds.

Bermudagrass Stem Maggot
The bermudagrass stem maggot (Atherigona reversura) is becoming a troublesome insect in bermudagrass pastures and hayfields across Tennessee. The discoloration of the upper leaves causes the field to look like there has been a light frost. If left uncontrolled, up to 80 percent of the tillers in the field can be affected, resulting in significant yield reduction.

Pasture Weed Fact Sheet: Herbicide Stewardship
Troublesome annual and perennial broadleaf weeds must be managed to optimize pasture quality and productivity. In most cases, broadleaf herbicides are necessary ingredients in a pasture weed management program.

A Simple Method to Calibrate Sprayers
Before you can accurately apply the right amount of herbicide to a field, you have to know how much spray mix is being applied to each acre.
Video Watch Sprayer Calibration Video

Weed Management in Pastures and Hay Crops
Regardless what kind of pasture most annual and perennial broadleaf weeds reduce forage yield, palatability, and quality in pastures and hay crops.
Video Watch Sprayer Calibration Video

Competition Control in Native Warm-Season Grasses
Native grasses planted for forage production in the mid-South must compete with unwanted weeds and grasses. When that competition impacts stand vigor, quality, longevity or production, it should be controlled. Although some competition is inevitable, there are several steps you can take to minimize it.
Video Watch Sprayer Calibration Video

Johnsongrass, Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers., is a member of the grass or Poaceae family. Johnsongrass is a very troublesome weed, as it is capable of extensive seed production and can propagate from creeping, thick rhizomes.

This native of southeastern North America is found throughout Tennessee; it is particularly troublesome in grass pastures and hay fields. As is the case with most other weeds, prevention is an important component of an overall management plan.

Poison Hemlock
Poison hemlock, also called deadly hemlock, poison parsley, spotted hemlock, and California fern, is a highly poisonous bien-nial weed that is a member of the family Apiaceae, which is also referred to as the carrot family.

Tumble Mustard
Tumble mustard, also known as tall hedge mustard, Jim Hill mus-tard, and tall rocket, is a winter annual or biennial member of the Brassicaceae or mustard family.

Tall Ironweed
Tall ironweed is an erect, warm-season perennial plant that is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It is native to North America and can be found throughout Tennessee in hay fields, pastures and roadsides, particularly in moist areas.

Knotroot Foxtail
Knotroot foxtail is a warm-season perennial grass that is also known as knotroot bristlegrass or simply perennial foxtail. It is native to the Americas and can be found throughout Tennessee in hay fields, pastures, lawns, roadsides and waste sites.

Buckhorn Plantain
Buckhorn plantain, also known as English plantain, narrow-leaved plantain, and ribwort plantain, is an erect cool-season perennial plant that is a member of the plantain family (Plantaginaceae).

Several species of buttercup are found in Tennessee. Two of the most common are hairy buttercup and bulbous buttercup. They are not native to the United States and are members of the but-tercup family (Ranunculaceae).

Chinese Privet
Chinese privet, also called privet, privet hedge, and hedge bush, is a woody, very invasive shrub native to China. It was introduced into the United States in the early to mid-1800s as an ornamental plant; it later escaped from cultivation and has naturalized throughout the southeastern United States.