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Noxious weed detected in Dickinson area

Palmer amaranth plants, which are invasive weeds, have been located in several western North Dakota counties.

Palmer weed
Palmer amaranth was detected in Stark County.
Contributed / North Dakota Department of Agriculture
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STARK COUNTY, N.D. — Two palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) plants were confirmed near a roadside south of Dickinson, Stark County Weed Control Officer Travis Jepson said on Friday. The plant is a noxious weed, native to the southwestern United States, he added.

“It reduces (crop) yields by a lot because it can grow six to eight feet tall and it's capable of growing more than five inches in diameter,” Jepson said. “So it can get really big, you know, it's a prolific seed producer.”

The plants were located Sept. 27 and sent to a lab for testing, Jepson said.

“I'm thinking it's probably a pretty isolated incident,” he said. “I don't imagine that we're going to have any major infestation associated with it whatsoever. The area will definitely be monitored, you know, for any new growth that could emerge next year, but not a major concern when it comes to infestation.”

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He said the weed is rarely found in North Dakota.

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“You know, most of the places that have found palmer amaranth have done a pretty good job of controlling it,” Jepson said. “Honestly, the big thing for me is for people to familiarize themselves with the plant. And if they see something that looks similar to it, to just give us a call, so we can come check it out, because we'd rather we'd rather find it early and, you know, get rid of it. Early detection, rapid response is kind of the idea behind it, you know. So if we do have any more instances in the county, we'd love to go and find 50 plants that aren't palmer, you know, and not miss one. So, you know, the more we check out, the better it is for people.”

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture stated additional plants have also been located recently in Kidder and Williams counties. In each of those counties, a single plant was discovered.

The detections, confirmed as palmer amaranth by the National Agricultural Genotyping Center, are unrelated and under investigation. The sites where the plants were found are being monitored to mitigate the risk of further spread.

“We continue to encourage producers to monitor fields for noxious and invasive weeds, especially palmer amaranth to prevent it from going to seed,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring stated in a press release. “The public should contact and work with their local weed officers and other experts to identify and report any suspect plants.”

To report a suspect plant, contact your local county weed control officer or go to visit www.nd.gov/ndda/pa.

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Ashley Koffler is a Killdeer, North Dakota native and Dickinson State University graduate, with a Bachelor’s Degree in writing, and minors in journalism and psychology. Formerly working in Community Affairs for Roosevelt Custer Regional Council for Development, her reporting focuses on the Dickinson city government, community features, business and agriculture — among others.
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