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Palmer amaranth is an aggressive weed. It can grow up to 3 inches a day, will get to more than 6 feet tall and produces thousands of seeds. Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Palmer amaranth found in eighth Minnesota county

ST. PAUL — Palmer amaranth, a noxious weed on the Minnesota ag department's "hit list," has been found in Houston County.

The Department of Agriculture was contacted by the Houston County ag inspector after discovering several hundred plants in a small hay field. The field has since been mowed and burned off to destroy any plants, seedlings and seeds produced this season.

The state's Palmer amaranth team will monitor the site for up to three years for any new plants.

The source of the infestation is still under investigation. Houston County is the eighth county in the state to report the presence of the weed since it was first discovered in the state in 2016.

“While we’re still trying to determine how Palmer amaranth got into the field, we’re asking farmers to scout for the weed now before harvest,” said Denise Thiede, the ag department's seed unit supervisor. “The plants will be identifiable with flowering and fruiting structures. Seedhead spikes can get up to three feet long and are pricklier than waterhemp or other pigweed spikes.”

If you suspect Palmer amaranth on your property, collect the whole plant and contain any seeds. Contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Arrest the Pest line at 1-888-545-6684 or arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us, the University of Minnesota Extension, or your local crop consultant.

Palmer amaranth is listed as a noxious weed in Minnesota. All above and below ground parts of the plant must be destroyed, and it cannot be moved. In addition, Palmer amaranth is not allowed in any seed sold in the state.

Left unchecked, Palmer amaranth is capable of choking out other plants, including crops. It will significantly reduce crop yields and increase crop production costs. An annual weed, Palmer can grow more than 3 inches a day and get to more than 6 feet tall.

Palmer amaranth was first discovered in the state in conservation plantings in Lyon and Yellow Medicine counties in 2016, and Todd and Douglas counties in 2017. It was found in row crop fields in Redwood and Jackson counties in 2018. Palmer amaranth has been eradicated from all those sites.

The weed was also found in a proso millet field in Lincoln County in August. The Lincoln and Houston sites will be monitored to determine if further management is needed to eradicate the weed.

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