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Department of Agronomy

Sericea Lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata

Description

sericea lespedeza (photo by Walter H. Fick)Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata), or Chinese bush clover, is an introduced perennial legume native to eastern Asia (Figure 1). It is recognized for its tolerance of drought, acidity, and shallow soils of low fertility. It will tolerate soils ranging from very acidic to slightly alkaline, but is best adapted to a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. It does best on clay and loamy soils that are deep, fertile, and well drained, but will also grow on poor sites. It has few insect and disease problems. Sericea lespedeza’s ability to thrive under a variety of conditions and its tendency to crowd out more palatable forages are among the reasons it has been declared a noxious weed in Kansas and may be considered as a noxious weed in Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

Sericea was planted in the past to control soil erosion, provide forage for livestock, and provide cover and food for wildlife. From these plantings, it has spread by animals and movement of hay contaminated with sericea seed to native prairies, shrublands, forests, and introduced pastures. Normal management practices such as grazing, burning, and applying
herbicides do not adequately control sericea lespedeza.

Control

Seven herbicide options are available for use on sericea lespedeza in 2014. The following list updates the recommendations found in 2014 Chemical Weed Control for Field Crops, Pastures, Rangeland and Noncropland (SRP1099). FOR FULL INSTRUCTIONS, CAUTIONS, AND WARNINGS, READ THE LABEL BEFORE USING A HERBICIDE.
Growing Conditions 

All the herbicides require sericea lespedeza plants be actively growing and have the ability to continue active growth after application. This means early growth (June to mid-July) must have new leaves being formed. After mid-July, the plants must be producing buds and moving to bloom stage. If the plants are not actively growing, DO NOT APPLY HERBICIDES. Results will be poor and not cost effective.

Spray Solution 

In order to get good control, the amount of spray solution per acre must be increased. This is necessary to insure complete coverage of the sericea lespedeza plant. The recommended rates are:

  • By air - a minimum of three (3) gallons per acre to as much as five (5) gallons per acre for dense populations.
  • By ground - a minimum of 10 gallons per acre to as much as 20 gallons per acre for dense stands.
  • For spot treatments - the plant must be covered with solution but not to the point that the solution drips from the plant.
Specific Herbicide Recommendations:

NOTE: Specimen labels are available by clicking on the herbicide name.


REMEDY ULTRA (tryclopyr, 4 lb/gal)
See label for cautions, instructions, limitations, and crop rotations.

  • Broadcast Application
    1.0 - 1.5 pints per acre 
    Timing: during active vegetative growth (June - mid-July) 
  • Spot Treatment 
    Use 1% solution (1.33 fl. oz per gallon) 
    Timing: during active vegetative growth (June - mid-July) 

ESCORT XP (metsulfuron methyl, 60% dry flowable)
See label for cautions, instructions, limitations, and crop rotations.

  • Broadcast application
    0.5 oz/acre plus non-ionic surfactant according to label 
    Timing: apply from beginning of flower bud initiation to full bloom stage (mid-July on) 
  • Spot Treatment
    1 oz/100 gal or 1 g/gal + non-ionic surfactant/gal 
    Timing: apply from beginning of flower bud initiation to full bloom stage (mid-July on) 

CIMARRON PLUS (metsulfuron methyl, 48%; Chlorsulfuron, 15% dry flowable)
See label for cautions, instructions, limitations, and crop rotations.

  • Broadcast application
    0.625 oz/acre plus non-ionic surfactant according to label 
    Timing: apply from beginning of flower bud initiation to full bloom stage (mid-July on) 
  • Spot Treatment
    1.25 oz/100 gal plus 0.25% non-ionic surfactantTiming: apply from beginning of flower bud initiation to full bloom stage (mid-July on)

CIMARRON MAX** (a 2-part package; Part A - metsulfuron methyl, 60% dry flowable; Part B - 1 lb/gallon dicamba, 2.87 lb/gal 2,4-D) See label for cautions, instructions, limitations, and crop rotations.

  • Broadcast application
    Part A - 0.5 oz/acre; 
    Part B - 1 pt. plus a non-ionic surfactant 
    Timing: apply from beginning of flower bud initiation to full bloom stage 
  • Spot Treatment (100 gal)
    Part A - 1 oz
    Part B - 4 pt
    0.25% non-ionic surfactant
    Timing: apply from beginning of flower bud initiation to full bloom stage (mid-July on)

** Kansas research has not shown a control or economic benefit from the addition of dicamba and 2,4-D when used on sericea lespedeza

CIMARRON X-TRA  (Metsulfuron 30% plus Chlorsulfuron 37.5% dry flowable)

  • Broadcast application
    1 oz/acre plus 0.25% non-ionic surfactant
    Timing: apply from beginning of flower bud initiation to full bloom stage)

PastureGard HL (3 lb/gal triclopyr plus 1 lb/gal fluroxpyr)

  • Broadcast application
    0.75 to 1.5 pt/acre 
    Timing: Lower rate used in spring to early summer prior to bloom when plants are 12-15 inches tall. Higher rate recommended for dense stands or later stages of growth. 
  • Spot treatment 
    Use 3 pt/100 gal water or 0.5 fl oz/gall water


SURMOUNT (O.67 lb/gal picloram plus 0.67 lb/gal fluroxypyr)

  • Broadcast application
    2.0-2.5 pt/acre 
    Timing: Lower rate used in spring to early summer prior to bloom when plants are 12-15 inches tall. Higher rate recommended for dense stands or later stages of growth. 
  • Spot application 
    See label for directions using a hand-held sprayer.

CHAPARRAL (O.525 lb aminopyralid + 0.0945 lb metsulfuron per pound of product)

  • Broadcast application
    2.5 - 3 oz/acre 
    Timing: Beginning at flower bud initiation through the full bloom stage. 
  • Spot application 
    See label for directions, but generally mix 2.5 oz/100 gal water.
Integrated Methods

In addition, combinations of grazing or mowing followed by herbicides has been successful. Grazing with goats will suppress seed production. Early intensive grazing where the animals are removed from the pasture July 15 and then treated with a labeled herbicide about 4-6 weeks later has been effective. Like wise, haying native hay meadows in early July followed with a labeled herbicide 4-6 weeks later also works well. Prescribed burning in the late spring stimulates seed production and should be followed up with a herbicide treatment. 

  • Native Hay Meadows: Sericea lespedeza is found in native hay meadows. The presence in hay meadows is of concern but does not make the hay unharvestable. If the hay is cut before the sericea lespedeza begins budding, it can be hayed. The tannins that make sericea lespedeza unpalatable break down as the material dries resulting in a high quality hay. Reports indicate that cattle readily consume the sericea lespedeza as hay.

    For control in native hay meadows, harvest the hay by mid-July. About 6 weeks later, if the sericea lespedeza is actively growing, apply a half rate of an approved and labeled herbicide following labeled instruction.

  • Early Intensively Stocked Pastures: Early intensive stocking (double stock, half season stocking) where the stocking rate is doubled and the animals are removed by July 15 offers a unique control opportunity. There is a trend of the stocker (yearlings) cattle grazing the sericea lespedeza short as long as grazing continues. About 6 weeks later, if the sericea lespedeza is actively growing, apply a half rate of an approved and labeled herbicide following labeled instruction.

Links to the labels are in .pdf format and require Adobe acrobat reader.

Chemical
  • View Brochure
Cultural
  • Fire
    • Controlled Burning - Spring burning probably increases seed germination.  Burning around September 1 has eliminated seed production.
  • Grazing
    • Cattle
    • Sheep
    • Goats
Mechanical
  • Mowing: Mowing sericea lespedeza after mid-July can delay or reduce seed production. It will also reduce the growth rate of the sericea lespedeza the following year.
  • Digging: In areas where sericea lespedeza plants are scattered, hand digging can reduce the invasion rate, and if started early, can stop the spread.
Biological
  • No information currently available

Publications

Reported Acres | 2015 Noxious Weed Survey (agriculture.ks.gov)

Sericea Lespedeza 2015
 

Awareness Campaign

Ext_Sericea>wantedsericea200px.png In 2002, a campaign was initiated to increase the awareness of sericea lespedeza throughout the state. The Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition funded the printing of 1,500 "Wanted" posters plus 750 information posters. These were distributed to County Extension Offices throughout the state in August, 2002. For 2003, Dow Agrosciences funded the printing of an additional 1,500 "Wanted" posters. These are being distributed to county Extension offices, county weed directors, USDA-FSA, and USDA-NRCS offices.

As part of the 2003 campaign, the "Wanted" poster is available for local use. Click on the small poster below which will link to an Adobe file (pdf) of the full sized poster. NOTE: The pdf file is about 5 megs in size and will take some time to download. The file may be printed any size by setting the print function of your browser accordingly.

For a more detailed description of the Awareness Campaign, click here.

North American Weed Free Forage | Including mulch hay

Multi-State Working Group

Meeting Minutes
Weed Identification Books
Mission Statement

Develop and implement a multi-state partnership to manage and control Sericea Lespedeza in the prairie region. The objectives of the work group are:

  • To develop operating protocols for coordinating research, education and other activities among the states.
  • To coordinate and develop funding for research and education programs within the states.
Problem Statement

Sericea Lespedeza is an invasive perennial legume that is spreading in the tallgrass prairie region. Though used as a forage crop in the southeastern United States, it is an aggressive invasive weed which threatens the entire ecosystem of native tallgrass prairie including wildlife habitat, livestock grazing, water quality, and economic stability.

A comprehensive multi-state integrated pest management effort is needed to complement costly conventional control methodologies. State, federal and private sector cooperative action is critical to the success of this effort.

Background

Research efforts have been conducted using non-government funding since the early 1980's. Kansas State University, Emporia State University, and Oklahoma State University have conducted research in chemical control, biological control, role of the seed bank, physiology and biology.

In July 1999, a meeting was held at Fort Riley, Kansas, to discuss strategies for curbing the spread of sericea in the tallgrass prairie region.

The meeting was organized by Fort Riley's Conservation Division, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

A second meeting was held July 25-26, 2000, in Topeka with expanded representation from Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Nebraska. A formal organization was developed and a plan of work was initiated. When funding can be obtained, a Director for the group will be identified.

Area of Adaptation

US map of adaptation

Current States Involved

current states involved | multi-state working group | Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma

Organizations and Agencies
Kansas
  • County Weed Directories of Kansas
  • Emporia State University
  • Fort Hays State University
  • Kansas Association of Conservation Districts
  • Kansas Audubon
  • Kansas Biological Survey
  • Kansas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy
  • Kansas Department of Agriculture
  • Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks
  • Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition
  • Kansas Livestock Association
  • Kansas Section, Society for Range Management
  • Kansas State University
  • Pittsburg State University
  • Stream & Prairie Research
Missouri
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
  • MIssouri Department of Natural Resources
  • Missouri National Guard
  • Missouri Prairie Foundation
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
Nebraska
  • Nebraska Department of Agriculture
  • Nebraska Weed Control Association
Oklahoma
  • Langston University
  • Oklahoma Cattleman's Association
  • Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy
  • Oklahoma Department of Agriculture
  • Oklahoma State University
Commercial
  • Agriliance
  • Dow-Agrosciences
  • Dupont Crop Protection
Federal
  • Corps of Engineers, Tulsa and Kansas City Districts
  • Fort Riley
  • National Park Service
  • USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • USDA-Farm Service Agency
  • USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service