Removing the Pesky Plants

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Mesquite, cactus and weeds are known to keep grass from growing. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is hosting a class on Feb. 27 to help land owners who have pastures that maybe aren't big enough to manage the pesky plants with prescribed burning or Aerial practices.

Rick Belz has a property just west of Wichita Falls. He is working to remove the unwanted shrubbery from his pastures.

"Right now mesquite trees and the cactus and the weeds suck a lot of the moisture out of the ground and it's very difficult to keep it clean," Belz said.

These weeds also add to dry fuels for a fire.

"When it gets hot and dry then they turn off and there could really be some issues so it still gets bad. You want to do management of whatever you have whether it's an acre or 10 acres," David Graf with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension said.

He encourages anyone with land as small as half an acre to attend the class at River Bend Nature Center next Monday, especially as we head into the spring.

"I think there's a lot of need for people to just know a little more about how to manage that," Graf said.

The drought changed the landscape.

"Oddly enough it used to be fairly clean and then all of the sudden things just started growing up," Belz said.

"With the rainfall that we've had the last couple of years because we came out of the drought it really deteriorated our grasses," Graf said.

The tough dry weeds, mesquite and cacti were able to grow when it wasn't easy for the grass.

"They grow in all kinds of hot temperatures where the grass doesn't and that's what we need to learn," Belz said.

Graf says to manage the land watch the livestock doesn't over graze, control the weeds, and make sure a pound of weeds destroyed is replaced with a pound of grass.

On smaller property many times these land owners have to spray the weeds one at a time. Sometimes they can use a tractor to cover more land. However Graf said the weeds don't need to be soaked in the chemicals used to kill them. It takes a lot less to kill the shrubbery.

"It's a lot of work. It's like having a big backyard that you've got to mow and take care of. When you are talking about 25 or 50 acres there's a lot to do," Belz said.

Belz said taking care of his cows is what makes all the work worth it.

" They're a big part of my life and there just like dogs or cats or anything else. We come out here and feed the babies. Give them bottles and love on them," Belz said.

One reason why land management and fire prevention is so important.

"That's huge," Belz said. "We don't have a lot of acreage here, but we keep the grass low and managed, the fence rows clean, so that if some our way there wouldn't be anymore fuel for it to have to run with it so it will be easily manageable."

Dinner will also be served at the land management class on Feb. 27 at the River Bend Nature Center, 2200 3rd Street, Wichita Falls. From 6-7:30 p.m James Jackson an extension Program Specialist I, from the Stephenville Research and Extension Center Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will discuss your questions, plant ID for the Wichita Area, Control Options for Weed and Brush, and application techniques and equipment.

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