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How to Kill Goldenrod

Casey Kennedy

Rayless goldenrod (Bigelowia nuttallii) is a perennial half-shrub that grows from 2 to 4 feet in height and produces yellow flowers that bloom from August through October. While you may think of goldenrod as a beneficial herb, it might surprise you to learn that this type of goldenrod is actually considered toxic and is dangerous to livestock. Sometimes known as jimmy weed, rayless goldenrod contains tremetol, a type of alcohol that causes a condition known as "trembles" in horses, cattle, sheep and goats. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, rayless goldenrod grows in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. It can be controlled through the use of herbicides and is best treated during the fall after plants have flowered.

  1. Purchase an herbicide that contains picloram to treat and kill goldenrod. Use a pump-up sprayer or backpack sprayer to treat goldenrod that is scattered throughout the pasture or for the treatment of a small number of plants.

  2. Follow the manufacturer's instruction to properly mix the herbicide to the correct proportion in the pump-up sprayer. As an example, a 1-percent solution of herbicide containing picloram is typically added to a half-tank of water before completing the fill-up of the tank.

  3. Add a spray-marking dye to the herbicide mixture. This dye is typically blue in color and marks the plants that have been sprayed.

  4. Spray each individual goldenrod plant with the herbicide. Wet each plant thoroughly until the goldenrod is saturated, but not to the point where the herbicide drips.

  5. Allow one growing season to pass before mowing the area. Do not disturb the plants or try to remove them during this time.