Tips for identifying fall emerging weeds
Seedling characteristics: Seedlings are also covered by coarse hairs. The margins of the first leaves of rosette are mostly entire or round, but subsequent leaves might be apically projected and toothed.
Field pennycress is a winter annual that can be found in fields, pastures, roadsides, and in disturbed lands. Field pennycress seeds contain a chemical (allyl isothiocyanate) that causes gastric distress in livestock. When the seeds are consumed, cows produce milk with a bitter garlic odor and flavor.
Flowering period: April- June
Distinguishing features: The stem is erect, branched or simple, and 1 to 2.6 feet tall. Leaves are alternate and clasping the stem. It forms a basal rosette with the leaves. Lower leaves have entire or coarsely toothed margins with blunt tips, while upper leaves have coarsely toothed margins with a projected leaf tip. Fruits are flat, circular, or rounded-oblong. They are notched at the tip, separating into two valves.
Seedling characteristics: Cotyledons are bluish-green and long-stalked. They are ovate-shaped with a prominent mid-vein and slightly toothed margin.
Downy brome is a winter annual grass that can be found in cultivated areas, fields, pastures, roadsides, and waste sites. Long awns of downy brome may injure grazing animals and cause tetanus.
Flowering period: Late April- May
Distinguishing features: Plants are 0.3 to 2 feet tall. Leaf sheaths, leaf blades, and nodes are covered with soft hairs. Usually the leaves twist clockwise. It has a membranous (1-3 mm long) structure at the base of the leaf where the leaf blade and leaf sheath (i.e. ligule) meet. Long awned spikelets form panicles (inflorescence) that are dense, soft and either drooping or nodding.
Seedling characteristics: Seedlings are light green with soft hairs on the leaf sheath and blades. Leaves show clockwise twisting.
Dandelion is an annual or perennial weed invasive in turf, flower gardens, forage, and no-till fields. It grows from seeds during fall.
Flowering period: April-October
Distinguishing features: The erect plants are 2 to 20 inches high and have a basal rosette crowded by deeply notched leaves. Stems and leaves contain milky sap. The bright yellow dandelion flower is 1 to 2 inches wide. Each flower head contains hundreds of ray florets. Later the flower heads turn into white globular seed head. Each seed has a white parachute that facilitates travel on the wind.
Seedling characteristics: It has a rosette that’s 2 to 6 inches long with basal leaves formed above the central root system.
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