Kochia is an early emerging summer annual weed that causes headaches across the Midwest, northern Plains and Northwest each year. If left to flourish, the weed can cause up to 70% yield loss in row crops.1 Controlling kochia early in the season is the best bet for protecting corn and soybeans.
- Common names: Kochia, fireweed, burning bush, mirabel, mock cypress
- Scientific name: Kochia scoparia
- Cotyledons: Lance- or linear-shaped, dull green and smooth
- Leaf shape: Lance- or linear-shaped, grayish green and flat with soft hairs
- Stems: Branched, round and purple to red in color with hairs
- Flowers: Green flowers with hairy bracts
- Reproduction: Monoecious (male and female attributes on one plant)
- Kochia is an early emerging summer annual weed. For example, it can appear as soon as February in Kansas.1
- Known for creating tumbleweeds, kochia is highly adaptable to hot, dry weather.
- Kochia plants can grow up to 6 feet tall with roots that can extend 15 feet into the soil.1
- A single adult kochia plant can produce up to 30,000 seeds.1
- Heavy infestations of kochia are known to cause as much as 70% yield loss in row crops. The plants also can interfere with harvest by getting tangled up in machinery.1
- Populations of kochia have been found with resistance to four herbicides: Group 2 (ALS inhibitors), Group 4 (synthetic auxins), Group 6 (photosystem II inhibitors) and Group 9 (EPSP synthase inhibitors).1
- According to The Internal Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, herbicide-resistant kochia has been found in crops in 16 states. In addition, the weed has shown resistance to herbicides in non-crop areas like railways, roadsides and industrial sites in Indiana, Iowa, Indiana, New Mexico and Utah.
- It’s important to control kochia early in the season, because it’s very difficult to control postemergence. That said, creating a strong weed control program approach with burndown, preemergence and postemergence herbicides that includes residual activity is key.
- Rotation between grass and broadleaf crops can help keep kochia at bay. Winter wheat is particularly good for suppressing the weed.1
1United Soybean Board. 2021. Kochia. https://iwilltakeaction.com/weed/kochia
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