Bountiful rains bring abundant weeds; wildfires sure to follow

See the original release and videos at Texas A&M AgriLife.

Record rainfall will almost certainly lead to a dangerous wildfire year if proper management actions are not taken before everything dries down, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist.

“We’ve had a phenomenal year for rainfall, and we’re really grateful for it to help our rangeland recover from the drought and give cattle plenty to eat,” said Tim Steffens, AgriLife Extension range specialist in Canyon.

“But the downside is we’ve built up fuel loads where wildfire can travel fast across the countryside and across roadways once the kochia weeds and Russian thistle dry down and begin tumbling across the country,” Steffens said. “Those can scatter fire all over in high winds. So we have to be careful about how we manage before, during and after drought.” Continue reading

Fungi may one day control tumbleweed


By Jan Suszkiw

Beneficial fungi could become microbial marshals tasked with wrangling a weedy icon of the American West, Salsola tragus—also known as tumbleweed or Russian thistle.

Popularly depicted in movies and television tumbling through dusty towns of the Old West, tumbleweed is in fact one nasty hombre of the western American landscape, elbowing aside crops, clogging irrigation ditches, spreading insect pests, and even posing a driving hazard.

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