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


MSU February Weed Post – Tall buttercup seedling growth along a moisture gradient

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016



… Tall buttercup can displace pasture grasses and clovers and is cause for concern due to its toxicity to livestock, especially cattle. In Montana it has invaded over 20,000 acres and is a Priority 2A noxious weed. Irrigation may create conditions conducive to tall buttercup growth and survival, but the amount of moisture required for optimal seedling emergence and growth has not been explored. Understanding the importance of soil moisture on seedling recruitment can inform effective management strategies.

We conducted a greenhouse study to assess seedling emergence and growth along a gradient of soil moisture. We collected seed from tall buttercup growing in flood and sub-irrigated hayfields in southwestern Montana, planted them in soil in half gallon pots, and subjected them to three soil moisture treatments including 25, 50, and 100 percent field capacity (field capacity = amount of water held in soil after excess water has drained away, usually 24 hours after a wetting event). After 65 days, tall buttercup seedlings in each pot were counted and measured.

Tall buttercup seedling emergence, height, number of leaves, and biomass were all affected by soil moisture…


Download and read the complete weed post: MSU February Weed Post – Tall buttercup seedling growth along a moisture gradient.

Discarding Empty Pesticide Containers & The Montana Pesticide Disposal Program

Thursday, August 21st, 2014


Pesticide applicators should be aware of the resources available for discarding pesticide containers and pesticide waste. By following a few simple steps applicators can ensure that empty and partially filled pesticide containers are discarded and disposed of legally.

Disposing of Empty Pesticide Containers

Prior to discarding any pesticide containers a pesticide applicator is required to power-wash or triple rinse the containers. The rinsate should be discarded in pesticide tanks and sprayed over a site listed on the pesticide product label at or below required product label rates. After triple rinsing, the container should be rendered unusable by puncturing. The Montana Department of Agriculture Pesticide Container Recycling Program is an option for applicators desiring to keep pesticide container plastic out of Montana’s landfills. This program has collected more than 288,000 pounds of pesticide containers since October 2009. Numerous sites across Montana are available that applicators may use by simply searching the container recycling map at Once an acceptable site is found, applicators may contact the local cooperator to arrange a drop off of empty pesticide containers (refer to the recycling map link). Shredded plastic from pesticide containers is recycled to create non-consumer items such as drain tile, roadway speed bumps, pallets and landscape edging.

Disposing of Pesticide Waste

Applicators should use the Montana pesticide waste disposal program if they have unknown pesticide products (due to worn product label), unregistered pesticide products or unusable pesticides that are in need of disposal. The Montana pesticide waste disposal program began in 1994 and has collected more than 455,600 pounds of pesticide waste since onset. Common pesticides brought to the event include DDT, chlordane, 2,4,5-T and strychnine. The disposal fee is FREE for the first 200 pounds and $0.50/lb for amounts in excess of 200 pounds for licensed pesticide applicators. Pesticide disposal program locations and dates are:

  • September 16, 2014 – Kalispell, MT
  • September 17, 2014 – Polson, MT
  • September 18, 2014 – Missoula, MT
  • September 19, 2014 – Bozeman, MT

Participants must pre-register their unusable pesticide with the Montana Department of Agriculture before the event. Registration for the program is requested by the end of August. For the most part, acceptance into the program is on a first come, first serve basis and early sign-up is encouraged. Requirements: Participants must pre-register their unusable pesticide with the Montana Department of Agriculture so the collection can be managed safely and efficiently. The registration form is located at

Please mail registration form to:
Montana Department of Agriculture
Pesticide Disposal Program
P.O. Box 1054
Glasgow, MT 59230

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: See the MDA Pesticide Container Recycling Program website at or see the MDA pesticide waste disposal program at  Contact
Carli Lofing for additional information regarding the MDA Pesticide Disposal or Container Recycling Program at (406)228-9512 or email at For any other questions contact Cecil Tharp,Pesticide Education Specialist, at the MSU Pesticide Education Program office (406)-994-5067,

Montana State University: Report for the Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund Advisory Council

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014


This report for the Montana Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council was assembled in compliance with the Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund Act and Administrative Rules which require an annual report from the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and Montana State University Extension Service on current projects and future plans. This report is a compilation of major weed science research and education activities conducted by MSU over the past three years and includes highlights of funded Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund grants as well as comprehensive reporting of all weed science research products and education funding and activities.

Download and read the complete report: Montana State University: Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension Service REPORT FOR THE MONTANA NOXIOUS WEED TRUST FUND ADVISORY COUNCIL

MSU July Weed Post – Weed Spread & Climate Change

Monday, July 14th, 2014


This month’s post comes to us from Dr. Lisa Rew, Associate Professor in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at MSU, and highlights some of her recent work looking at weed spread along elevation gradients and how this may help us better predict patterns of invasion within the context of a changing climate. If you have any questions regarding her research, please contact Lisa directly at

Excerpt from this month’s weed post:

Whether we like it or not, our climate is changing: generally Montana is getting warmer and patterns of precipitation (amount, form -snow or rain, timing) have changed in various ways across the state.  In addition, the human population continues to grow in many parts of Montana, and this has increased the frequency and intensity of road and trail use. Understanding how weeds respond to such changes and where new populations are likely to occur is helpful for planning weed management at the broader scale. Dalmatian toadflax, originally from Eurasia, has been present in southwest Montana since the early to mid-1900s and occurs in a range of areas including our more mountainous areas. Weeds respond to disturbance and are more abundant on bareground than in healthy growing vegetation, which is why they are abundant along roadsides. So what is stopping the spread of this and other species to higher elevations and away from roads and trails? Are seeds not getting there? Is the climate so inclement that seeds arriving at higher elevations cannot germinate or establish? Or, does the intact high-elevation vegetation stop the invasion?

Finish reading the July 2014 MSU Weed Post.

MSU Level 2 Noxious Weed Management Course is Open for Registration

Monday, July 14th, 2014


The Level 2 Noxious Weed Management Certification Workshop is a 2 ½-day study of weed biology,   ecology,  and   management.  It   is  designed  to   benefit  those  new  to   weed management and experienced professionals, and participants must first complete Level 1 in the series.

This workshop is the second in a series of training opportunities for local, state, federal government, private, and other land managers in Montana interested in current advances in noxious weed management. The series (Level 1 through Level 3) will include a third workshop within the next two years, and course complexity will increase with subsequent levels.

The Level 2 workshop is limited to 40 participants.

Download the flier with agenda and registration form.

MSU Announces a New App for Grasses

Monday, May 5th, 2014


Summary: A new app is now available for identifying more than 100 grasses and grass-like plants in Montana and nearby states and provinces.

May 5, 2014. Contact: Jane Mangold at (406) 994-5513 or or  Whitney Tilt at (406) 223-8972 or

BOZEMANA new app is now available for identifying more than 100 grasses and grass-like plants in Montana and nearby states and provinces.

Designed for beginners and experts alike, the app will work on iOS and Android devices. An Internet connection is not required. The app provides images, species descriptions, range maps and other information. It was produced by Montana State University’s College of Agriculture and High Country Apps in Bozeman, with plant expertise provided by MSU faculty and staff in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology.

“Grasses are economically and ecologically vital to our state, and are iconic of Montana’s open landscapes,” said Matt Lavin, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology. “’Montana Grasses’ brings a wealth of information to your mobile device in an easy to use format helpful to landowners, researchers, and the general public.”

Users can browse the species list or search for specific plants by common or scientific name. The app provides 13 sets of characteristics to help define a search, including overall appearance, seed head, blade width, habitat, elevation and origin (native or introduced).

Montana Grasses allows users to select a custom list of species for future reference and sharing via email and social networks. Detailed information on grass identification basics, sources and resources, as well as a glossary of botanical terms and diagrams of grass anatomy are also provided.

Montana Grasses is available at Amazon, Apple, and Google app stores for $4.99. The app will be updated on a regular basis at no additional charge. High Country Apps will dedicate a portion of the revenues to support plant conservation in Montana.

For more information, go to High Country Apps at

This article is available on the Web at

MSU April Weed Post – Grass Identification

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014


Here is an excerpt:

Grasses are a ubiquitous feature of the western landscape.  In fact, over two thirds of Montana is dominated by grasses, and over 236 grass species have been documented in Montana.   World-wide there are about 10,000 grass species. Differentiating one species of grass from another is difficult because they tend to all look very similar.  However, grass identification is critical for assessing when and where certain weed management tools should be applied. For example, some grass species are more susceptible to broad-leaf herbicide injury than others.  Accurate identification of the grasses on a site is essential to help select an herbicide that will be most effective on the weed while being least harmful to remnant, desirable grasses.

Download and read the complete weed post: April 2014 MSU Weed Post – Grass Identification

New MontGuide on Pesticide Performance and Water Quality

Monday, January 27th, 2014


We’ve had many questions regarding water quality and its impact on pesticide performance.  Adam Sigler and I have compiled resources within a new MontGuide titled “Pesticide Performance and Water Quality”.  This publication provides helpful information on pH, dissolved minerals, suspended solids, water testing tools, and tables including common pesticides.  You can view this on the MSU Pesticide Education website at or, download from the MWCA website, or  order hard copies from MSU Distribution at (406)994-3273.