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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
Palmer amaranth SIUC 2013 186

Visit with campus specialists

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weeds

Yesterday the commercial agriculture educators had the opportunity to visit with campus specialists to garner updates from the 2013 growing season. The information that most resonated with me was shared by Dr. Aaron Hager, Associate Professor of Weed Science at the University of Illinois. Northern Illinois has been dealing with its own set of problematic weeds in 2013 including Giant ragweed and Common waterhemp. But Aaron helped put our current weed issues into perspective when he shared his experiences with Palmer amaranth in other areas of the state.

In his opinion the threshold for Palmer amaranth is 1 plant, this is especially true in areas where this weed is just showing up, including Grundy and Kankakee Counties. Because of the competitive nature of this weed all available steps should be taken to prevent introduction or its spread.

If you identify an isolated area of Palmer amaranth in a field this fall

  • Do not mechanically harvest mature Palmer amaranth plants. (The combine will successfully spread seed across additional acreage) Physically remove the plants prior to harvest and either leave the plants in the field or place in a sturdy garden bag and remove the plants from the field. Bury or burn the bags in a burn barrel as soon as possible.
  • Fields in which Palmer amaranth seeds were produced should NOT be tilled during the fall or following spring. Leaving the seeds near the soil surface increases the opportunities for seed predation by various granivores.
  • Mark or flag areas where Palmer amaranth plants produced seed. These areas should be
intensively scouted the following season and an aggressive Palmer amaranth management plan implemented to prevent future seed production.

Photo courtesy of Robert Bellm

Guidelines for the Identification and Management of Palmer amaranth in Illinois Agronomic Crops is available at



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