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The ranch. [volume] (Seattle, Wash.) 1902-1914, November 01, 1910, Image 2

Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn98047754/1910-11-01/ed-1/seq-2/

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The Russian Thistle.
By E. O. Essig, Horticultural Commissioner, Ventura County, Calif.
The Russian Thistle belongs to what
is commonly known as the goosefoot
family of plauts(Chenopodiaceae) and
is closely related to our common pig
weed, scientifically known as Amaran
thus retroflexus, and to the Enstern
tumbleweed. Though it is called Rus
sian Thistle and Rusisan Cactus, be
cause of its spines, it is not a thistle
at all, but a tumbleweed, and in Eu
rope is rightly known as the Kussian
Young Plant. —The young plant ap
pears with tWQ needle-like leaves or I
Russian Thistle-Detailed Figures.
cotyledons. Soon other similar leaves
appear and the plant begins to stool.
The foliage is light green and very
tender at this period and is readily
eaten by sheep.
Adult Plant.—The adult plant aver
ages from 1 to 4 feet in height and
branches profusely from the single
tap-root at the base. The spread
often reaches 6 feet, but the more
general size averages from 12 to 4 feet.
Where three or more plants grow to
gether they assume the general shape
of a single plant—a flattened sphere.
Koot consists of a single white tap
root, with many smaller loots coming
from it near the tip. When thi9 root
is severed the plant dies, thus making
it easily killed by cultivation.
Leaves long and needlelike, averag-
The JR^aticH^
ing from \i to 3 inches. The tip is
armed with a sharp spine.
Flowers borne in the axils of the
leaves and protected by the spiny
bracts. Color, white to purple with
I prominent yellow stamens.
"A weed new to America made its
appearance a few years ago in the
wheat raising region of the Northwest,
and has already caused damage to the
estimated amount of several millions
of dollars. Spreading rapidly as it is
over a new territory and becoming
more destructive in the region already
infested, it threatens serious conse
quences unless prompt measures are
taken to subdue it. " -Bui. 15jU. S.
Dept. of Agri., 1894, p. 7.
As a pest to cultivated crops, the
Russian thistle cannot be compared
to Morning Glory, Canadian Thistle.
Johuson Grass, or White Malvn. But
to grain and uncultivated crops it is
the worst weed pest known. It not
only crowds out all other growths,
but takes form the ground a large
amount of nourishment which is al
ways needed in a grain field.
£ In controlling weeds we have two
different, classes to deal with, ac-
w_ ■ .
k&h Kumn
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Every tool has a place of its own and it's there for service. Whatever
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Keen Kutter Tool Cabinets are made in many different sizes, the
prices varying with the number and kinds of tools selected. There's the
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cording to the method of growth.
One class is constantly sending up
new shoots from an underground stem
and can be controlled only by constant
summer knifing. To this class belong
Morning Glory, Canadian ! Thistle,
Johnson Grass and White Malva.
They are especially harmful to such
cultivated crops as beaDS, beets,
berries and other small fruits. To the
second class belong plants with only
one tap-root from which must come
all nourishment to produce seed for
next year. They aie absolutely de
pendent upon seed for reproduction,
while the members of the first class
may be produced by seed, but usually
from a growth on the underground
stem. To this last named class belong
the tumbleweeds including the Rus
sian Thistle. In the methods of con
trol, then, we are to deal with a plant
when once cut off before the seeds
mature, the next generation is im
mediately stopped. Tbe main thing
is to know when and how to go about
the work in the different crops.
The spring plowing will destroy
what seeds have germinated after the
fall plowing, and the next important
step is to get the grain in before a
dry spell, so that it ruay get a start
of the thistle.
In some localities it has been neces
to resort to summer fallow, but in
this country much of the land will
raise cultivated crops, and the pest is
easily controlled by cultivation.
"Oats, when properly grown, often
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choke our the thistles, aud hence
escape injury. If, on the other hand,
they are sown thinly or on poorly
prepared land, the thistles may com
pletely ruin the crop. Millet, the
only grass largely culti ated tor hay
in the Dakotas, is such a rank plant
that it is injured very little by any
weed." —L. H. Dewey.
The possibilities offered by this
system of eradication in this county
make the problem here much simpler
than in some other places where only
hay and grain can be grown.
Much of the land shown in the chart
as infested with the weed is now in
orchard and cultivated crops.
I should recommend, then, that the
system of rotating crops be employed
by all farmers whose land is capable
of suoh a method, which includes
practically all of the now infested area.
It is useless to clean up infested
fields if the weeds are allowed to grow
and mature along the public and
private roads. Such is the case at
present along private roads.
The one important factor necessary
in the eradication of this pest is con
certed action of all the farmers. It
is useless for one man to clean up his
fields if the first winter wind is going
to bring a host of rolling thistles
from his neighbor's place to reinfest
his own. Such is too often the case.
1. Let no weeds seed.
2. Get grain in early.
3. Fire stubble, if possible.
4. Plow immediately after tbe crop
has been harvested.
5. Plow shallow.
6. Destroy the weeds now before
the seed ripens.
7. Plant cultivated crops or alfalfa.
8. Co-operate with your neighbor
and with the county commissioners.

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