MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 17, 2013

People talk thistle control

TAHLEQUAH — About 50 people were present at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center last week to hear about a problem plant invading Oklahoma.

The Cherokee County Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service held a meeting to discuss local conservation efforts and federal cost-share programs. However, many came to hear about management of musk thistles.

“We have been dealing with musk thistle for a long time,” said Roger Williams, an agent with the Oklahoma State University Extension Office. “We have put out (brush thistle) weevils, but that hasn’t done the job everybody thought it would. After distributing them for a couple of years, we no have a hard time finding them, and it may be a long time before we build a population that can thin out the thistle in Cherokee County or across the state.”

Oklahoma deems musk, Scotch and Canada thistle nuisance weeds. By law, landowners must take steps to control infestations.

Williams said earlier suggestions to spray thistle with herbicide in March proved ineffective.

“We’ve learned our lesson,” he said. “Thistle needs to be sprayed around the middle of February. It can be sprayed and cut down in March, but by then, the head already contains viable seed.”

Attendees also heard about efforts to protect water quality and reduce erosion through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and the Stream Bank Stabilization Project.

Several cost-share agricultural programs through different agencies were explained. Information is available by calling the CCCD at (918) 456-1919, or the NRCS or Farm Service Agency at (918) 456-1924.

“If people are interested in any of our programs, they can let us know what they have in mind,” said Garland Phillips, chair of the CCCD.

Sean Rowley writes for the Tahlequah Daily Press.

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