What Plant Is Important in March?
Western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya)
Western ragweed is a warm season perennial forb that can grow to 3 feet in height and produces flowers and seed in the fall.
Western ragweed grows in almost all areas of the state on a wide variety of soils, most especially on disturbed sites. This plant has a good side and a bad side.
- Makes a good seed crop that is an important source of food for bobwhite quail and many other birds
- Produces a tremendous amount of pollen in its seed-making process that has a terrible effect on many of us with allergies
- Is not usually consumed by livestock unless the pasture is overgrazed and in poor condition
- Sometimes is grazed by whitetail deer in early stages of growth
Western ragweed can be controlled by practicing good grazing management and keeping a thick turf of grass present on the soil surface. It can be controlled in pastures that have deteriorated by early detection and applying the proper herbicide in a timely manner.
Editor's note: Jeff Goodwin, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Kent Ferguson, recently retired from NRCS, are providing us with plant identification photo stories to help ranchers identify those forbs, forages and brush species growing in the pastures. Photos are provided by the authors, Clint Rollins and NRCS National Plants Database.
"What Plant is Important in March" is from the March 2014 issue of The Cattleman magazine.