1. K-State home
  2. »Agronomy
  3. »People
  4. »Faculty
  5. »Dr. Walter H. Fick
  6. »Research Projects

Department of Agronomy

Department of Agronomy
Kansas State University
2004 Throckmorton PSC
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506-0110

Ph: +1-785-532-6101
Fx: +1-785-532-6094

Research Projects

Brush & Weed Control

The overall goal of my brush and weed control research program is to evaluate new and current herbicides and to develop effective methods or management strategies for brush and weed control on rangeland and pasture. Current research includes:

  • Comparison of glyphosate and imazapyr for Caucasian bluestem control
  • Herbicide evaluations for control of saltcedar and sericea lespedeza
  • Impact of summer prescribed burning on invasive species
  • Integrated control of sericea lespedeza using fire and herbicides

Examples of weeds common in rangeland and pastures in Kansas include annual species such as lanceleaf ragweed and common broomweed. Biennial plants, those that take 2 years to complete their life cycle, include musk thistle and common mullein. Troublesome perennial weed species include sericea lespedeza, Baldwin ironweed, woolly verbena, and goldenrods.


Grasses such as prairie threeawn, longspine sandbur, Johnsongrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and Old World Bluestems may also be considered weeds if they are growing “out of place.” Shrubs such as buckbrush, smooth sumac, and roughleaf dogwood, as well as trees such as common honeylocust, osage orange, and eastern redcedar, may become problems on range and pastureland. Other species to watch for include teasel, bush honeysuckle, and trumpet vine.

Control & Management

Options for control and management of brush and weed species include:

  • Biological
  • Chemical approaches
  • Grazing management
  • Mechanical
  • Prescribed burning

In many cases an integrated approach can be used. For instance, grazing management that includes proper stocking rates combined with frequent use of prescribed burning can prevent most woody plants from gaining dominance in many areas of Kansas. Mechanical cutting of non-sprouting species such as eastern redcedar can be very effective.

However, cut-stumps of sprouting species such as osage orange will require a herbicide to prevent resprouting. Biological control can be an effective strategy in preventing seed production and reducing stands of musk thistle. Herbicides can be applied on the soil, as a basal bark or cut-stump treatment, or applied foliarly.