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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » LAPRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #367101

Research Project: Cattle Fever Tick Control and Eradication

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests Research

Title: Agricultural and environmental weeds of south Texas and their management

item SOTI, PUSHPA - University Of Texas Rio Grande Valley
item Goolsby, John
item RACELIS, ALEXIS - University Of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Submitted to: Subtropical Agriculture and Environments
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/28/2019
Publication Date: 7/2/2020
Citation: Soti, P., Goolsby, J., Racelis, A. 2020. Agricultural and environmental weeds of south Texas and their management. Subtropical Agriculture and Environments. 71:1-11.

Interpretive Summary: This paper reviews the current status of major weeds of cropland, pastures, and the natural environment for the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Of the several native and non-native plant species that invade agricultural fields, rangelands and natural areas, there are 14 major plant species that pose serious threats. Of these, 5 are native herbaceous weeds, 5 exotic grasses, 2 exotic shrub/trees, and 2 exotic aquatic plants. Most of these weeds/invasive plants are deep rooted, drought tolerant, and have the capacity to withstand heavy grazing which make them more competitive than the native plants. Popular forage grass species like buffelgrass and Guineagrass, with their ability to tolerate drought and disturbance have rapidly invaded rangelands as well as roadsides in urban landscapes. These plants not only cause an economic loss in agricultural fields, but also alter the fire regime, pose a serious threat to biodiversity, soil health, and freshwater bodies influencing the overall ecosystem function.

Technical Abstract: The Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) in south Texas is one of the most productive agricultural regions in southern United States. With subtropical climate and highly fertile soils, this region provides a year-round growing condition for crops. Along with citrus, major crops grown in the region are sorghum cotton and corn in the summer and vegetables in winter. Thus, a fallow period of 3-6 months between successive crops is common in the region. Growers in this region report weeds as their number one economic and agronomic problem affecting crop yield and quality and increasing the cost of production and weeds account for the largest annual loss agricultural produce. In addition to the agronomic weeds, south Texas also has invasive non-native plants which result in economic or environmental consequences. Traditionally, land managers and farmers have depended on chemical and cultural (tilling/cultivation) methods for weed management. These methods are costly, labor intensive and might potentially pose environmental problems. With additional challenges posed by herbicide resistance in weeds and changing weather patterns, weed management is an important consideration for the growers in this region. Understanding the weed ecology and-biology, should be part of developing and maintaining an effective weed management strategy for the LRGV. Here we present a review on the most economically and agronomically important weeds and their management options in the LRGV region.