Working together to strengthen and support noxious weed management efforts in Montana.


MSU September Weed Post – Seed Dispersal by Vehicles and Hikers

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013


The September Weed Post which discusses weed seed dispersal by vehicles and hikers.  You may find this post especially interesting/useful as you get ready for hunting season, whether that be through your own hunting adventures or interacting with hunters on public and private land.

Excerpt from the September Weed Post.

Going my way? Weed Seeds as Hitchhikers

Weeds are often found along roads and trails because such areas are disturbance-prone and weed seeds are dispersed by humans traveling along such routes.  A growing body of research suggests weed seeds are catching a free ride as we drive our regular routes and hike our favorite trails.

A series of studies conducted at Montana State University measured the number of seeds picked up by vehicles and the distance seeds traveled on vehicles before they fell off.  Different types of vehicles, road surfaces, and moisture conditions were studied to determine how they affected seed dispersal.  One study revealed that ATVs collected a large number of seeds when driven on- or off-trail, and more seeds were collected in the fall than in the spring.  The highest number of seeds, about 5,500 seeds/mile, was collected from ATVs driven off-trail in the fall.  Even when driven on-trail, ATVS collected about 400 seeds/mile in the fall.  A second study determined   that many more seeds were collected by vehicles driven under wet conditions than under dry conditions. The third study found that >90% of seeds stayed attached to a vehicle for at least 160 miles under dry conditions, allowing for long distance transport of seeds.  Read the complete post September 2013 Weed Post

Another good reference on seeds traveling by vehicles can be found in  the MSU Extension MontGuide “Weed Seed Dispersal by Vehicles” (