Buckhorn plantain may well be in your pastures and hay fields now. You don’t want it. As spring arrives, it becomes an aggressive invader.
Buckhorn plantain has been tough to control, but the task is easier now with DuraCor® herbicide, say experts with Corteva Agriscience.
“Buckhorn plantain is competitive in pastures, but it’s a real headache in hay fields,” says Jeff Clark, a pasture market development specialist for Corteva Agriscience. “You open up a hay field when you cut hay, and afterwards you can see an explosion of buckhorn plantain. It will make a mat.”
Clark battles the weed in his own pastures and hay fields near Alderson, West Virginia.
Buckhorn plantain (Plantago lanceolata), also known as narrowleaf plantain, is a clumping perennial in a rosette shape. Mature leaves are 2 to 12 inches long and less than 1 inch wide with three to five prominent veins running parallel to the leaf edge. Leafless stalks up to 24 inches tall are topped with a cluster of tiny white flowers. The plant can bloom from April through October. Seeds germinate through the fall and winter.
The plant spreads through both seeds and new shoots produced at the base of the plant. Roots are slender and fibrous from a long taproot, which helps it survive drought. Plants can regenerate from the taproot even when cut at or below the soil surface, so mowing is of little help in control.
Tolerant of clipping, close grazing and drought, buckhorn plantain can be persistent. Native to Europe, buckhorn plantain is now naturalized throughout the South and much of the country.
“Several herbicides may make buckhorn plantain look sick, but it will pop out again after a rain,” Clark says. “With DuraCor, you really can control it in the fall, spring and summer. You have that flexibility, but earlier is better.”
In early spring, spray buckhorn plantain when you have at least three days where temperatures are 60 F or higher.
Anytime you spray buckhorn plantain, Clark says, there are two other keys to get control: Use enough DuraCor herbicide, and use enough water.
From March to early April, he recommends DuraCor at 12 fluid ounces per acre. Increase the rate to 12 to 18 ounces per acre in May and, after that, increase it to 20 ounces per acre. The more mature the weed, the higher rate you’ll need.
Then use an adequate volume of water — no less than 20 gallons per acre.
“When you spray a pasture, you’re trying to cover three canopies,” Clark says. “The first canopy is tall weeds above grass. In the second canopy, you’re trying to penetrate the grass to hit medium weeds. Finally, the third canopy is the soil surface.
“You have to use enough water to hit the soil surface to get the real value from a residual herbicide.”
DuraCor offers soil residual activity to control weeds that germinate for several weeks after spraying. But if the herbicide solution gets intercepted before it reaches the soil, there is no soil residual activity. So ample water is a key ingredient.
Finally, although nonionic surfactants work, Clark prefers to use methylated seed oil (MSO). “It just looks like sharper, quicker control to me,” he says.
™ ® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. Under normal field conditions, DuraCor® is nonvolatile. DuraCor has no grazing or haying restrictions for any class of livestock, including lactating dairy cows, horses (including lactating mares) and meat animals prior to slaughter. Label precautions apply to forage treated with DuraCor to manure and urine from animals that have consumed treated forage. DuraCor is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Always read and follow label directions. © 2020 Corteva