“Catching invasive weeds early is the only real way to prevent them from taking hold and causing damage. Identifying these new types of weeds before they flower gives us the chance to control and manage them through chemical treatment, and for that reason you need to be aware of the types of weeds that soon may be cropping up in your pastures,” Rector explained.

That means becoming familiar with what these emerging weeds look like and taking quick action. Resources to help identify invasive weeds include:

But research of new invasive species shouldn’t stop there. Rector advises property owners to identify the types of weeds that might be transported with hay shipments. That might involve checking with state agencies that control weeds in those states where the hay originated.

Complicating the risks of invasive weeds is the current drought. Rector says with the drought expected to continue into spring, summer and possibly next fall, the seeds of invasive weeds transported with hay may not germinate for several years. Many seeds of invasive weed varieties can lay dormant in the soil for a number of years.

“Until the rains come and the weeds emerge, we may not even be aware we have a problem, so awareness and diligence are the keys to controlling unwanted outbreaks,” he said.