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Wednesday, 25 July 2012 14:36

Scentless chamomile is a nasty weed in southwest Sask.

Written by  Trevor Lennox
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Scentless chamomile is continuing to increase in abundance in southwest Saskatchewan. The weed is particularly prominent in the Shaunavon to Dollard region, as well as the city of Swift Current. Although scentless chamomile’s flower may look pretty, landowners need to realize that it is a noxious weed, and needs to be controlled.

Plant identification:
Scentless chamomile is recognized by it’s daisy-like flower containing white petals and a yellow centre.  Scentless chamomile likes to grow in moist to wet habitats and along the edges of vegetation types (i.e. along road right-of-ways). It may also be found in a ring around sloughs and wetlands.
Control strategy:
Scentless Chamomile spreads through seed production, therefore control methods need to focus on stopping the production and movement of seed. Herbicides can be effective if applied early in the year, while plants are in the vegetative stage of growth and actively growing. However, once plants start to flower and form seed, herbicides are not very effective. The key with herbicides is to control them early (i.e. two to four leaf stage). Once plants have started flowering, landowners will have to use other options to control this weed.
As soon as the white petals are obvious, scentless chamomile flowers will already contain viable seed. Mowing or clipping may be conducted prior to this time to reduce seed shed, but scentless chamomile will re-grow from below the cut line and require re-cutting. The first clipping should be made high, with each subsequent cut lowered slightly so that the final cut of the season is the lowest available for the mower.
In some situations, such as on annual cropland, tillage may be another option of cleaning up an area with scentless chamomile.
In some situations, such as in urban settings, the best option may be to manually pick, bag and burn the plant. This practice is labour intensive but does a lot more thorough job of preventing the spread of seed. Manually picking, bagging and burning scentless chamomile plants is particularly effective at dealing with small patches when the weed first moves into an area.
For additional information on controlling scentless chamomile, you can contact Trevor Lennox, regional forage specialist, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture at 306-778-8294, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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