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Pre-War Control and Education

Post-War Control and Education


Future Research



The History of Leafy Spurge Control in North Dakota

Rodney G. Lym
Department of Plant Sciences
North Dakota State University

Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) is a long-lived perennial weed that has led to the establishment of a region-wide research effort and a state-wide control program which have both become models for future noxious weed control efforts. Leafy spurge was first found growing in Fargo in 1919 and spread freely to infest nearly 1 million acres by 1997. Velva Rudd, a North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC) masters student, conducted the first in-depth study of leafy spurge in 1931. Her work led to the first Agriculture Experiment Station bulletin about leafy spurge (published in 1934) and to the addition of the plant to the North Dakota noxious weed list in 1935. NDAC and the state legislature began a series of control efforts in the 1950s, but these were generally unsuccessful because of both poor available control methods and a lack of consistent state-wide control programs. North Dakota became the leader in leafy spurge research and control with the formation of an integrated research program in 1979 and the North Dakota Weed Control Association in 1983. By the late 1990s several methods of controlling leafy spurge were available, including chemical, biological, grazing with livestock, and seeding of competitive grasses. The cooperation established between various state and federal agencies needed to control leafy spurge should prevent further noxious weed invasions and preserve the state=s agricultural enterprises and native plant species. This article is only available online at http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndagres/ndagres.htm

Impact The establishment of a state-wide control program and region-wide research program which remains in place to prevent the wide-spread establishment of other noxious weeds with the resulting economic loses.
Federal and state land managers, county weed officers, state and federal legislatures

noxious weed law, history, North Dakota Agricultural College

Table of Contents – Winter 1997

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