The Enemy - Jointed goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica) is a winter annual grass that is so close to wheat that the two species can actually interbreed. Distinguishing this invader from the field grown wheat is difficult until the seed heads have formed. The seed head is full of spikes that appear to be stacked on top of each other and align themselves along the stems. Small hairs extend outward from the leaf edges and below the collars
The Strategy - Jointed goatgrass cross pollinates with wheat. This makes the wheat non-viable, which destroys any revenue that can be created from the crop. The plant is very difficult to clean out from the wheat seed, thus if it does occur in the field, the weed can be replanted if one is not careful. The plant also competes with the wheat for nutrients and moisture. It is also invading roadsides and empty lots where it becomes a great nuisance especially if you try to take them out with a weed-eater (ouch).
The Defense - as this plant is an annual, mechanical control is very feasible, bearing in mind that it germinates alongside wheat. Using a shovel to remove it, ensuring that you get 2 inches of the root is, most effective. Numerous herbicides are available. This plant is a winter annual, thus fall applications of Roundup can be effective. On Roadsides and empty lots utilization of Oust is very effective at one ounce in the fall or 2/3 ounce in the spring. This will not only take out the Jointed goatgrass but will also stunt any desirable grass. If you are not sure if you have this grass in your field then call your weed professional and start a management program now.
PLEASE NOTE -The proper use and application of herbicides can be an effective way to control and eradicate noxious and invasive plants. Before using herbicides, always carefully follow the label and safety instructions on the label. While we recommend the use of herbicides as one of the effective tools for integrated pest management, the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign assumes no liability for herbicide applications.
For more information, click on the link below to download the Idaho's Noxious Weeds Control Guidelines publication produced by the University of Idaho Extension.
U of I Idaho's Noxious Weeds Control Guidelines (183 KB PDF download)