- [Narrator] "Montana AG Live" is made possible by The Montana Department of Agriculture, MSU Extension, The MSU AG Experiment Stations of the College of Agriculture, The Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, Cashman Nursery & Landscaping, The Northern Pulse Growers Association, and The Gallatin Gardener's Club.
(upbeat music) - Good evening.
Welcome to "Montana AG Live."
Originating again tonight from the studios at KUSM on the very dynamic campus called Montana State University.
And coming to you over your Montana Public Television System.
I'm Jack Riesselman I'll be your host this evening.
I'm retired, professor of plant pathology.
Happy to be here.
And it's up to you to provide a lot of interesting questions tonight because we have a great panel to answer those questions.
And without those questions, we become quite boring sitting here.
So anyway, get those questions in as soon as you can.
Great change of weather.
We've had a wonderful week here in Galton Valley.
I know the rest of the state I was in buildings this week.
Finally, we got some spraying and a lot of activity out there in lawns, gardens and in those fields, so enjoy it.
We had a nice rain this week.
Hopefully we'll keep going with some more additional rain.
Joining us tonight as our special guest is Jane Mangold.
Everybody knows Jane.
She usually sits right here as a weed scientist, but tonight we're calling her an extension invasive plant specialist.
But if there are other invasive species that you're curious about, Jane sits on the invasive console for the state and she can answer a lot of questions concerning some of the other creatures that we're concerned about here in the state.
Jeff has been here many times.
Jeff is a biological weed control expert and has done a lot of work with a lot of different organisms in this state.
It's really nice to have a person that is as knowledgeable and biological control as is Jeff.
So if you have questions tonight concerning anything biological, weed control oriented call 'em in, we'll get to 'em I promise you.
Abby is our specialist in answering everyday questions concerning horticulture.
And joining us remotely tonight.
Happy to have Clain Jones here again.
Clain is an extension fertility specialist.
It's that time of year where you're thinking about fertilizing your lawns, putting some additional nitrogen onto your spring wheat.
If you have questions about that, good opportunity tonight to call the question and Clain will handle 'em.
Jane, tell us what you do invasive plant wise.
- Okay, well thanks Jack.
Thanks for asking me to be a special guest tonight.
Most of you usually just see as a regular panelist and I do work with invasive plants thinking about how to manage those.
I have had the privilege for the last eight years of sitting on the Montana Invasive Species Council.
And through that experience, I've learned a lot about other invasive species.
I've had a chance to rub shoulders with people who work with different taxa, fish, mammals, insects, et cetera.
So tonight I'm hoping that I have a chance to talk about some of the invasive species that the state is worried about.
Last year in 2022, the council did a series of listening sessions as well as a summit last October, and they came up with a list of nine invasive species to watch that are based upon what we heard from our stakeholders across the state.
So hopefully we get a chance to talk about some of those.
- Jane, I have to ask you, and I think the audience might be curious, what constitutes an invasive species?
- Yeah, that's a great question.
So the Invasive Species Council, I think the definition is plants, animals, or diseases that can cause harm to our natural cultural and economic resources.
And they are non-native species.
So when we think about invasive species, two common denominators in... You'll see a lot of different definitions, but two aspects of the definition that are almost always there are not native to for us Montana.
Sometimes it's the North American continent, so they're not native and they cause harm to ecology, economies.
Sometimes you'll also see the addition of the fact that these species, once they get introduced, they can move and spread very easily without further assistance from humans.
I mean, humans are very much part of invasive species in that we tend to move them around intentionally or not intentionally.
But sometimes part of the definition is once they get established, they can move around and persist on their own.
- Okay, thank you.
I forgot to mention we have a couple phone answers here in the studio.
So if we can get a shot of Nancy Blake, busy answering the phone.
And Cheryl Bennett and they are here quite often.
I wanna thank 'em for coming in on Sunday night and taking these questions.
Clain, way out there on Zoom land.
I have a question here that came in from Helena and they would like to know how much compost each year do they need to put in a garden?
- Yeah, that's a great question.
I get a lot of questions from gardeners about compost, soil fertility, soil tests.
What I generally see in gardens by the time people get around to getting them soil tested is they tend to have very high levels of nutrients.
And when I quiz them, it's almost always because they've been applying manure compost on a fairly regular basis.
If you do the math, one inch of manure compost will last your garden nutrient wise for 30 to maybe 45 years.
So my recommendation is more like about a quarter of an inch every say four to five years, that might be a little more reasonable.
It'll make your soil have better tilt, be easier to work with, but it won't be over-applying nutrients like some people do by adding like a half inch every single year.
- I agree with you.
Best time to put it spring or fall?
- I would say fall to give it a little bit of time to breakdown.
If you put it on this time of year, there's probably not gonna be a lot of nutrient release.
I'd be more inclined to put it on mid late fall.
- Okay, thank you.
Jeff and Jane, this person is curious about the snail that occurs in central Montana that is in an invasive species.
They would like to know what it is, what it eats and why it's a problem.
The question is from Monarch.
- Go for it, Jeff.
I will say Jeff is our state expert on this snail.
So thank you Jeff for expanding your horizons to work on this mollusk.
- Yes, I've become a sort of a not oncologist in my old age, which is sort of a challenge for me.
So the snails, the Eastern Heath Snails are terrestrial snail.
You never think of Montana as being a problem for terrestrial snails.
But we're very similar to Australia, which has a big snail problem in very similar habitats.
So we have a picture here of the eastern heath snail.
It shows some of the problems we have with it.
Right now it can build up fairly high populations.
At this particular field, we found maybe about 1200 snails per square yard, which is a very high population.
Right now it's more of a nuisance type of snail.
It's been around for, yeah, for a number of years, maybe as long as a hundred years.
Maybe brought in by coal miners.
These are kinda shows you the typical snail.
They're about a dime size, but they can be quite variable.
Sometimes they have those bandings, sometimes they're almost white.
A lot of variation out in the field.
We found 'em feeding, or at least on about 40 different plant species.
They don't necessarily feed on all of them.
And they have this massing behavior, which you see on the slide here where when it gets hot and dry, they'll crawl up on plants, seal their shell off to protect themselves from moisture.
They can stay in there for during the day or sometimes for several months or maybe even several years.
So in the lab we've been testing to see what they feed on.
They seem to really like legumes.
Canola is a big concern, less so on grasses and small grains.
They do seem to eat primarily detritus.
So there's concern on some of these crops, although they haven't really moved into them.
- How extensive in the state are these creatures now?
Are they all over the state or just in the central part of the state?
- Pretty much in the central part of the state.
The USDA and the Department of AGs been doing surveys, so they're kind of a heavy infestation of about 110 square miles, mostly around belt.
But they've moved to great falls down to Monarch, up to Highwood and just recently over to Stanford.
So they are moving out of that area.
- My wife would ask, are they edible?
- They're pretty small.
And if you know, they also carry parasitic worms to-- - That's not ideal.
- Yeah, yeah.
You get kind of creepy after working with 'em a little bit.
- I say almost anything is edible, it's just would you wanna eat it or not?
And I do wanna add that this is one of the species that is included on the state's nine invasive species to watch.
And again, that's based on stakeholder input, concern over these potentially spreading and becoming more of an issue moving forward.
- You know, years ago I did some work in Egypt and they had a snail problem on cereals over there and it was skeletonized the leaves.
And they were pretty extensive.
So yes, they can do some damage, I've seen that myself.
- Yeah, I think the main concern is if they start moving into the wheat, how that might impact the export.
- [Jack] Exactly.
- Because of contamination.
Maybe not, less so for feeding, but mostly contamination issue.
Move to Abby, this is a good question because I think a lot of people will be interested in this.
It came in from Columbia Falls, she wants to know if it is all right to water indoor and outdoor plants with soft water like Culligan and other businesses provide.
Yes or no?
- Yeah, you can, it shouldn't be a problem.
I don't see why.
- [Jack] You don't build up salt concentration?
- You mean salt water or just?
- [Jack] Well, it's soft water, but they use as-- - They can, if you are, you know, depending on your indoor plants, you may need to make sure that you kind of keep an eye on the salt within the soil.
But I'd love to hear kinda Clain's thoughts.
But I've done it and haven't had many problems with salt buildup, but Clain do you have any thoughts on that?
- So where are you thinking the salt buildup is?
Can you repeat that question, Jack?
- Well either in our garden or in house plants.
- If you're watering with salty-- - Watering with soft water.
- [Abby] Soft water.
- Oh, with soft water.
So I, you know, soft water will have higher sodium and the biggest concern there is that you can do what's called disperse the soil, make the clay particles lay flat rather than aggregate into nice clumps.
And so I think over time, it could be an issue, but I haven't studied it or seen studies on it.
Yeah, Jane, I told you we'd get some tricky ones.
Yeah, that always makes it a little more fun.
From Bozeman is the koi goldfish in public waters around Bozeman a potential invasive species?
- Yeah, the koi goldfish.
- [Jack] Yeah, they're big cat-like creatures.
- Well, I'm not sure about koi in particular, but there are concerns about a variety of fish that can be invasive.
Some of them are game fish, some of them are, I don't know, ornamental fish, fish that get released for different reasons.
And I think probably the best talking point when we think about fish is just the concern of moving fish around or what we call bucket biology.
Where people wanna move things around that they wanna catch in different places.
And a lot of these invasive species move around because of things that humans do right or wrong.
And we tend to discourage, moving anything around.
There's actually a campaign called Don't Let It Loose.
That concerns a lot of like aquarium type species.
You know, when you decide you don't want that species in your aquarium anymore, don't let it loose into the wild, find something else to do with it.
But I don't know specifically about the koi, but I think it does raise the question and kind of this talking point about not moving organisms around intentionally because we never just quite know where something might start posing a problem.
- It's similar to the grass carp in the Midwest.
- Which we don't have an issue with here, thank the Lord.
But that they can be devastating, I'm not sure about koi.
I wouldn't let 'em loose.
- So yeah, don't let it loose.
I'm not sure what waterweed is, but from Helen are they say that waterweed took over her garden last year and she's afraid to plant a garden this year.
How can she control it?
What is waterweed, anybody know?
I have a good idea, send us a sample.
- Yeah, yeah.
I was gonna say take a sample.
This person's from Helena, you said?
- It is.
Maybe get a sample into your county extension office and if they don't know what it is there, they can send it to the Schutter Diagnostic Lab and we can figure out what it is and then come up with a plan for managing it.
Question for both Jeff and Jane.
Is anyone working on biological control of common tansy that comes to us from Missoula?
I'm kind of sort of working on common tansy.
I work with a lab out of Switzerland CABI, and they've been testing a number of biocontrol agents for common tansy.
We have one agent that's stem mining weevil, that's just about through the host specificity testing and we'll be petitioning for its release probably next year or the earliest, so that's-- - [Jack] That's good news.
- [Jack] Yeah.
- It can have an impact and it's really hard to tell from laboratory and greenhouse tests versus in the field.
- Okay, thanks Jeff.
Clain, this question comes in from Daniels County, which is up in the Scobey area.
They'd like to know if they need to adjust their fertility weights on spring wheat this spring because they're seating about three weeks late.
Any concern or any information you'd like to add?
- Yeah, that's a great question.
We know from research that people here have done, people in Western Canada have done, the later seeding, almost always will reduce yields.
That said, that means that probably you wanna fertilize maybe a little bit, less nitrogen.
But then countering that is that we had a very, you know, relatively wet fall and winter in most places in the state.
Western Montana was the exception to that.
Northeast Montana was about average and some places were well above average.
And so that might counter that late seating, maybe yield goals will be about the same.
I would follow MSU fertilizer guidelines.
You can get those from me or you can get those from your county agent.
- Okay, thanks Clain.
From Hamilton is Myrtle spurge an invasive species in Montana?
I don't know what Myrtle spurge is.
Myrtle Spurge is a perennial plant herbaceous plant.
It's related to leafy spurge and it is not on the State Noxious Weed List.
I think one or two counties might have it on their county list.
It's not a widely established species in the state and not high on the radar.
But that doesn't mean that it couldn't be, some of our neighboring states have it listed as an noxious weed.
- [Jack] How does it differ from some of the other spurges?
- You know, I don't know, Jack.
- [Jack] I gotcha.
- It wouldn't take much to get me, but yeah.
I don't know.
But I think it's fairly similar.
In terms of somewhat similar in appearance and rhizomatous perennial growth habit.
- All right.
Abby, from Livingstone.
And they're hearing about a No Mow May program for their lawns.
You wanna explain what that is and is it good for lawns?
- [Jack] Mine would be awful.
- Yeah, that's a-- - [Jack] Tall.
- Yeah, that's a really good question.
And it's one of those kind of topics that has been picking up steam.
I think it was started in the United Kingdom, but the concept is to not mow your lawn during that early kind of spring time where lawn weeds are growing.
And the intention behind that is to provide food for pollinators like bees.
But in general, I'm gonna address this in two ways in terms of bees specifically, some flowering lawn weeds are a really good source of food for bees.
So things like white clover, they have a very nutritious nectar.
But dandelion specifically don't really have a nutritious nectar for bees.
So it's not really a great... Usually when I see these No Mow May lawns, they're just dominated by dandelion and not much else.
So if you are interested in terms of looking at pollinator health, the best thing would be to plant flowering plants, just a wide variety of them in your garden that are blooming all season long.
But in terms of your lawn health, yeah, like you're saying, my lawn would be a foot and a half if I didn't mow it in May and the big issue with that would be that when you are trying to get back to mowing and rain it back in, you will only wanna remove about one third of that blade of grass at a time and your mower won't be able to be effectively mow it to that reasonable height and slowly back down to, you know, a nice growing height of between three to four inches high.
And so I would say it would be tough on the health of your lawn and there are better ways to help pollinators.
Low Mow May is a good option.
So not mowing as frequently, helping the root systems of your lawns get really robust and yeah, that's what I would recommend.
- And fertilizing in May, when?
- Around Memorial Day.
- No sooner?
- No sooner.
- Or you will really be mowing more.
You don't wanna fight with the mower.
- Jane, here's another good one from Bozeman.
She is concerned about the European collared doves replacing mourning doves.
Are they an invasive species and can they be killed?
I wonder if that's my sister calling it from Bozeman.
Yeah, the Eurasian collared dove.
I've been watching this species for 15 or 16 years.
I was actually living in Oregon about 15 years ago when I first started noticing it there and then was fortunate enough to move back here and started noticing it here.
And it is not, I don't think it's gained notoriety as an invasive species, but I'm concerned about it and I do feel like I see more and more Eurasian collared doves, at least in urban settings.
And I seem to hear fewer mourning doves.
- [Jack] You are right.
- And if I remember right, and I'm treading on thin ice here cause I'm kind of trying to go from memory, but I think the Eurasian collared dove was like originally released from a pet store in Florida.
There was like a hurricane coming in and the pet store owner released his birds.
But someone should fact check that.
One of our viewers should fact check that and let me know if I'm right.
I think it's the Eurasian collared dove and they've all moved from that first introduction.
- And they've increased dramatically.
And by the way, there is no season on 'em.
I mean, you can hunt them and do whatever you want any time of the year.
- And they're not protected by the Migratory Bird Act, right?
- Not at all.
It's open season July 1st-- - And they're bigger than, I mean, people hunt mourning doves and they're bigger than mourning doves.
So I'm guessing they'd get a little bit more.
- [Jack] Yeah, no, they're flying.
- Meat from them.
- I've always been told their nesting habitat is totally different than mourning doves.
So I don't know if that is a reason that the mourning doves are not as prevalent.
I would like to find that out.
Maybe I'll talk to some of the biologists with Fish and Game, just to see what their thoughts are.
- You know, you watch their behavior and they come across as being more aggressive than a mourning dove.
Just from, you know, my experience watching birds over in my life, the collared dove seem, they're bigger and they do seem to display a little more aggressive behavior.
- They do that.
Moving over to Clain and Abby, this person from Bozeman would like to know whether you fertilized determinate or non determinate tomatoes in a different manner.
- That's a good question.
Clain, I would say determinate tomatoes, you know, indeterminate are gonna have a longer kind of growing season, so you might need to add more fertilizer over the course of that season.
But Clain, do you have any additional thoughts?
First, for those of you who haven't heard of these terms, so determinate just means the tomato will grow to a certain size like a patio tomato, put its energy into fruit and then stop growing.
Indeterminant means they just keep growing.
So, I agree with Abby they might need a little more fertilizer because of that longer season, but I do find a lot of times my indeterminant tomatoes are green when I pick them.
They're putting all their energy into foliage.
So I'd be cautious not to over fertilize with nitrogen because that turns tomatoes into a big leafy plant and not a nice supply of tomatoes.
- [Abby] Yeah, I think that's a great point.
- My experience, which isn't tremendous, but basically indeterminate tomatoes don't ripen here where determinant tomatoes will generally ripen a lot sooner.
- It is challenging in the Gallatin Valley, I would say specifically.
- Jeff, this person has some Oxeye daisy is that right?
And they would like to know if there's a biological control agent for that.
- Up and coming biocontrol agent seems like oxeye daisy is really kind of taken off.
Especially around the Bozeman area, I see more and more oxeye daisy.
I do have a root boring moth that is actually going through the regulatory process as we speak.
So there's a different steps you go through, Fish and Wildlife Service review of any threatened endangered species concerned, then it goes out to tribal consultation to see if there's any impact to more cultural issues with the tribes than public comments.
So it's going through that phase right now.
So probably, actually towards the end of the month we'll get a shipment in from Europe to learn how to rear it up and kinda start a rearing program.
I'm not sure if I'll get a release permit by about this time next spring.
If not, probably the following year, we'll get it out in the field.
- Oxeye daisy, explain what it is.
Jane, you're somewhat familiar with it.
Is it an noxious weed?
- It is, it's on the Montana Noxious Weed List.
It's that typical daisy yellow center with white petals that you, a lot of times you see it growing in kind of our mountain settings.
And it's a perennial species.
Yeah, it's on the Noxious Weed List and it's one of those challenging species to talk about cause for a lot of people view it as just a beautiful wildflower.
But it can be fairly aggressive, but it's not like the most aggressive species out there.
If you're taking good care of the other vegetation, it tends to not be quite as competitive as some of our invasive plants.
- Okay, thank you.
We have several questions here concerning the threat of feral hogs in Montana from Missoula, from Malta, and also from Columbia Falls.
- Yeah, good.
I'm glad this question came in tonight.
So there is a statewide campaign, it's called Squeal on Pigs.
And feral pigs, they're not established in Montana.
They are north of the border in Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
And the state has been quite aggressive and proactive in terms of trying to keep feral pigs from establishing here.
There's a photo on the screen right now along with the Squeal on pigs.
So it is illegal to be in possession of a live feral pig in the state.
Interestingly, feral pigs, they've been moved around a lot intentionally in other parts of the country, mostly by the hunting industry because they're fun to hunt.
The challenge is once they get established that you will probably never get rid of them and they're fairly aggressive.
They cause a lot of harm across cropping systems, range and pasture.
They can prey on young wildlife.
They cause a lot of damage with the digging and rooting that they do.
So they have a variety of...
They cause a variety of harm both to our natural systems and our economy.
So the state has made it illegal to be in possession of a live pig.
If you see what you think is a feral pig, there's a number to call.
It's part of the Squeal on Pigs campaign.
So there's a number to call to report it.
People are actually discouraged from trying to kill the pigs on their own because these animals are very intelligent and if you don't get all of them at once, like they're group, which is called a sounder, if you can't eliminate all of them at once, they tend to disperse.
They get smart pretty quick when they're persecuted and they tend to disperse and you know, set up new sounders in different places.
So if you release a pig, which I remember a few years back in the Midwest when hog prices dropped down to $8, $9, a hundred weight, instead of selling the pigs, people just released them.
Do those pigs then become feral?
- They can become feral.
Some of the information I was reading, I think it suggested that in just a few generations, a domesticated pig can become undomesticated and feral and they're very prolific.
Feral pigs I think they have multiple litters per year and litters can range, you know, four to eight.
- At least.
- At least.
- They're in Saskatchewan, we know that.
Are they in North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, or other adjacent states?
Do you know if they're in any of those states?
- I can't remember.
I'm thinking maybe they've spotted them in North Dakota, but I don't know if they're established.
Can I look at my cheat sheet?
- [Jack] You sure can.
- I'll look at my cheat sheets - And we'll come back to you.
- Yeah, we can come back to me.
Clain, another question concerning the late spring, again from Daniels County, which they grow a lot of pulse crops, peas, lentils, chickpeas up there.
They wanna know, are you recommending a starter fertilizer with any of the pulse crops to give them a head start due to the cold weather?
- Yeah, so starter fertilizer is one that farmers put directly down in the seed row with the seed.
I generally always recommend a starter fertilizer, even if soil nutrient levels are high, it does get the crop going.
And it's especially important when the soil temperatures are cold, which they have been until very recently because nutrients move slower when it's cold.
And so if you can get the nutrients in the root zone, then those plants will have the nutrients until the soil warms up and then they'll get them a little more naturally.
So yes, to answer their question.
On this cold temperature thing, I've noticed in Bozeman, we talked about this a little bit before the program, there are a lot of bright yellow patches that showed up as soon as the bluegrass started to turn green.
Those are dissipating, now.
I originally thought it was sulfur, but now I'm leaning toward nitrogen deficiency.
What's your opinion there?
- Yeah, so nitrogen and sulfur just from looks are really hard to differentiate.
Nitrogen tends to show up lower on a plant on the lower leaves and sulfur on the upper leaves.
Now when you just have blades of grass, it's like there's not a big difference between the lower and upper leaf.
I would guess nitrogen, sulfur usually is plentiful in most areas, most garden situations and lawn situations.
I think the cold, you know, mid to late fall, very cold winter and then probably some leeching that happened because when all that snow melted it would've taken nitrogen with it.
I think it's very likely of nitrogen deficiency right now.
- I think I agree with you entirely.
Here's one that's kinda interesting.
Could someone on the panel talk about using a pre-emergent herbicide in their garden?
Is it a good idea and how would you use it properly?
I'll turn it over to you guys.
I don't know.
- Do you wanna take a shot at that, okay.
(all laugh) Well what a pre-emergent herbicide does, is it works on seeds in the soil.
So if a seed starts to germinate, a lot of them act on the root that's trying to come out of that seed and it kills the plant.
So if you were, I could see if you were in a garden setting where you had, like you had tomato plants and pepper plants and you had plants that were already established, you could use a pre-emergent herbicide to control weeds that might come out of the seed bank.
However, if you were in a garden setting where you were planting seeds into your garden, it's possible that the pre-emergent herbicide would have activity on the seeds you're planting.
- [Jack] Most likely it would, yeah.
- So you know, you really need to, as with any herbicide, you wanna make sure you're reading the label, see what setting it's approved for use in and check the label to see if it talks about specific species that might be tolerant to that active ingredient.
- Okay, thank you.
And while I have you up from Shepherd, how can they control Russian olives in a pasture in a yard?
And we kinda got into Russian olives-- - Yeah.
- Last week.
- Yeah, so while since that species has come up, I just do wanna mention that there is some effort in the state targeted at woody invasives, including Russian olive, salt cedar and common buckthorn.
Kinda looking at those three species, they're problematic, especially along our riparian zones where they tend to do very well.
There's a photo on the screen right now of Russian olive with a little leafy spurge in the foreground.
So yeah, Russian olive, it is a resprouter, so you can cut down a Russian olive tree.
This was a, Jack this was a setting like in a pasture or acreage, like a pasture setting I think.
So you can cut Russian olive and then immediately upon cutting it, you wanna brush the cut surface with like a glyphosate.
You could just use glyphosate right out of the container and brush it onto the cut stump because it is a resprouter.
So if you just cut it down, you're gonna get a bunch of baby sprouts coming up the next year.
So, in that setting, pasture setting, that's one thing you could do.
Another thing you can do to control Russian olive is they call it a basal bark treatment.
So you use a triclopyr product and you brush about four inches or so width, along the lower part of the trunk, like all the way around it.
It's almost like you're girdling the tree.
And that would be a way to control Russian olive if you have bigger trees and you're not in a situation where you wanna mess with cutting it down and dragging, the tree, you know, the branches away and whatnot.
- [Jack] So if you're from the Midwest, they call it tamarisk, up here we call it salt cedar, which is the correct term?
- They're both correct, yeah.
It's just two names for the same species.
- [Jack] Same species.
Clain, quick one here.
This person uses 17:17:17, which is NPK, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium on their lawn.
Is there anything better that they could use?
- You know, Abby might be able to chime in here, but lawns need a lot of nitrogen and probably a high ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus to potassium.
So I'd be inclined to, you know, more something like 15 5/5 Scotts Fertilizer has gotten rid of all of their phosphorus in their products, because phosphorus can cause excess algae growth.
So I believe if you buy any Scott product, you won't find anything but zero for the middle number.
Now that assumes that you've been applying good amounts of phosphorus to use that product, but that would be something to consider as well.
Our sods tend to be pretty high in phosphorus and potassium and almost always, you know, nitrogen lacking, Abby?
I agree with that.
I've had a lot of success with using 40-0-0 or 25-0-0, especially if you get a soil test that indicates that you're, you know, you're really good on your potassium and your phosphorus levels, which most of our lawns, like you said, are you pretty much only need to focus on nitrogen most of the time.
- Okay, thank you.
I agree entirely.
From Golden Valley, Northern Golden Valley County.
That's great to have questions from there.
This person used root weevils to control nap weed last year.
He is concerned that they didn't survive the winter and how can he tell.
That's part one and number two is, any biological control from my favorite noxious weeds houndstongue.
- For the root weevil, I would probably wait a little bit as we get into more late spring, probably late spring.
Dig up the roots to see if you see any boring on the roots.
Some of those weevils are not the question about how cold hardy they are, they do quite well in the western part of the state, maybe less so in the eastern part of the state.
But if you open up the root, you can see the borings, the larva are fairly large.
For houndstongue, well that's a sticky subject.
There's one agent that has moved down a crown boring weevil that has moved down from Canada.
It hasn't been approved for release in the United States, but it's here.
Seems to be moving throughout Western Montana.
It's a very effective agent.
There's low bill spillover on some of the native barges, which is the main concern, but that seems to be somewhat temporary in Canada.
But here, fairly widespread building up numbers.
There's a second weevil that attacks the little seed nutlets that sticks to you that is probably a little more specific and that is going through regulatory process right now for field release and probably will be released.
So that's what we have for-- - I'd like to get rid of it.
I've got golden retrievers and they love houndstongue.
- It's fairly common.
The weevil that has not been approved for fear to release, this fairly common around the Bozeman area.
- Okay, sounds great.
Question from Billings, how close is the emerald ash borer to this area?
Is it in other areas of Montana?
No, but where is it right now?
Who wants to touch on that?
- Yeah, I can take a shot at it.
It is one of the species that is on the Montana's invasive species to watch.
- [Jack] Show us a bit of that slide for that-- - The emerald ash borer, for this?
- [Jack] Yeah, show that.
So this you, if you go to Montana Invasive Species Council website, which is invasivespecies.mt.gov, you will see a link to this Montana's invasive species to watch, the emerald ash borer is right there.
And then there's some species on the back of this sheet as well.
But that's a great place to find out about all of these species that we're talking about tonight and others that we won't have time to talk about.
There's also a dropdown menu there, about what can I do?
And it, tells Montanans, what can you do to help prevent the spread of invasive species, including the emerald ash borer.
So the emerald ash borer is not in Montana.
It does, as the name implies, this is an insect that attacks ash trees and we're very concerned about it making its way to Montana because of both our urban ash trees, but also our green ash draws in the eastern part of the state.
It has been found, the closest it is to us is Colorado, Oregon and South Dakota.
It's been moving eastward across the continent and really having havoc on ash trees all across the country.
So Jeff and Abby, I don't know if you wanna add anything, Abby, with your horticulture expertise, I'm guessing there's concern and discussion about what we should be doing now, maybe in preparation for the ash borer.
So, you know, just tree diversity is important in those urban areas and so kind of trying to minimize only, you know, utilizing ash trees, trying to incorporate other tree families into those boulevards and in those neighborhood settings is always a good idea.
It's a big concern and you know, from what you hear, it will be here at some point.
But being prepared by making sure, you know, you're not planting only ash trees in your neighborhoods trying to...
If you are thinking about some landscaping, think about some different plants, different alternatives.
- I couldn't agree more.
I grew up in the era where the chain saw started at eight in the morning and quit at five at night in Lincoln, Nebraska when they were cutting down the American Alps.
And that eventually you takes cities like Bozeman that predominant grow ash.
We need to diversify and slowly but surely we are.
So I agree with you, it's gonna get here and when it does, it's gonna cause some major problems.
Question from Western Washington.
How can she control Canada thistle in her garden?
The neighbors do not control their weeds.
- Do I have to take this one?
- [Jack] You do.
- Canada thistle in the garden.
Well, you can pull and you can grub and dig and just continue to do that, you can wear it out by continuing to take off the top part of the plant and stress those roots, that's one thing to do.
Repeated cultivation is another thing that you can do, but it does need to be repeated because if you cut up those roots, you can actually increase the density of the plant because more Canada thistle will grow from each of those little pieces.
So you have to be consistent with that cultivation and probably do it, you know, multiple times, probably like every 10 days or so, throughout the growing season and probably do it for a couple years.
So that could start having some impact on your soil structure.
The other option would be to brush glyphosate on it, so wipe glyphosate on it.
Probably, again, you're gonna have to do it more than once and just be very persistent.
- Okay, thank you.
And while I have you, a quick answer here from Columbia Falls.
Is Noble yarrow an invasive species?
So noble yarrow, it looks very similar to the other yarrow that we're used to seeing in rangeland, forest, landscaping.
I have talked to people in that part of the state, the northwestern part of the state who... And they've shown me pictures that definitely leads me to think it can be very competitive and very invasive.
It is not on a Noxious Weed List in the state of Montana, but it does seem to be invasive and problematic, especially in that northwestern part of the state.
This viewer was from?
- [Jack] Washington, Western Washington.
- Western Washington.
Yeah, I was thinking Northwestern Montana when I heard that - [Jack] It's close.
- Yeah, the Kalispell, yeah, that region.
So - Okay.
- It must like a little more moisture maybe than the yarrow we're more used to perhaps.
- Wrong, Columbia Falls is where-- - [Jane] Columbia falls.
- Jeff, this person from Conrad is seeing a tremendous amount of advertising talking about biologicals enhancing the nutritional value of fertilizer.
Are they actually working or you wanna touch on that a little bit?
- Seriously, yeah, biologicals can mean that organisms are added to the soil.
Sometimes people use them more generically, things that improve the biology, but I'll just talk about biologicals that add something.
So one of the most common is a organism called rhizobium, which we know works.
It makes the plant like legumes, alfalfa, sunflower, peas, lentil, chickpea, be able to take nitrogen from the air and put it into the plant.
And this happens in the plant routs.
So that's the most probably well studied biologic.
Then there's a whole bunch of new ones, some that claim that they make phosphorus more available.
There's some evidence that some of those products work, others that create these microrisal relationships with the plant that help the plant take up nutrients such as phosphorus and metals.
And unfortunately for the most part there's so many products and kind of so little time that there hasn't been a lot of university research that I've seen on how effective these are.
My biggest bit of advice would be to do what I call strip trials.
So get a product and run one line of cider pass with the biologic, flag it.
Maybe if you own a GPS, mark it and then when you come back with your yield monitor or camera see if it looks any different or if you grew more yield with that biological amendment.
- Good advice.
I agree with you entirely.
Great question from Helena they came in, they like the looks of the snails that you talked about earlier.
Are they good for anything?
- These particular snails, no.
But other snails, you know, we talked about eating them and people do eat different types of snails, even as bar food, you know.
I guess I'm not quite sure if they have like low jars of them like you know, the pickled eggs, but they might, I'm not quite sure.
Surprisingly some snails are used in...
The snails are big mucus producers and they use the mucus for beauty products to anti-aging shampoos and they have these big vests that they put snails in and they mash them down and they collect all this mucus for cosmetics.
Then for fishermen out there, I did run across this snail bait.
They use snails and plus a hemp seed.
- [Jack] Oh.
- So it's a combination they use for fish bait and I'm not quite sure where that is sold or how effective it might be.
That's kind of interesting, the combination.
- Yeah, out of curiosity, those snails that we use for escargot, which is more garlic than flavor, but you know, it's still not bad.
Do they grow those commercially?
That's just for my own information.
- [Jeff] Yes I do.
- So there's those big-- farms.
- Snail farms.
- Snail farms yeah.
- [Jack] Okay.
- Greenhouses that's south-- - [Jack] Here in the US or mostly overseas?
- Here in the US as well.
- [Jack] Okay.
- Jane, this person from Eastern or western Montana actually Superior, says that they read an article in the Spokane paper about an invasive crawfish called the red crawfish.
You know, anything about it?
- I don't know much about crawfish or crayfish.
I do know that Jack, you and I were visiting a little bit before the show started.
I do know that Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks is surveying and monitoring different species of crayfish.
Some of them are new to the state and we really are not sure what they might do or not do.
There's actually kind of some fun videos.
There's a group they call themselves the Cray Team, like the A team, for those people from the eighties.
So they have some funny videos that are kinda highlighting the work they're doing surveying and surveying for crayfish and monitoring populations when they find them.
I don't believe we have in the state I should say.
I don't know for sure but it has not been reported in Montana thus far.
Clain quick one here.
We talked about compost earlier in gardens.
They wanna know can it be used in lawns instead of fertilizer?
- It can definitely be used in lawns.
It'll help what's called the structure, helps some water holding capacity, decrease evaporation.
But for the most part composts are quite low in available nitrogen, meaning plant available nitrogen.
So you still might end up with a nitrogen deficiency.
If you wanna go, you know, stay organic and that's possibly why you're adding the compost.
There's a lot of organic products that are high in nitrogen including things like canola meal, feather meal, blood meal.
And so you have options that you could supplement that compost with if you wanna use organic amendments.
- Okay, thank you.
Abby, this is a question that actually came in last week.
I found it here on the computer.
They have a lot of potentilla that are pretty scraggly looking.
They would like to know can it be cut back and how far if they do cut it back?
- Yeah, you can cut potentilla it back.
I usually like to leave about two to four inches above the crown.
But you can cut it back and and revitalize it that way.
Jane, I'm gonna ask you open question here.
What other really invasive species are we concerned about here in Montana that are not here yet?
- That are not here yet.
Well, we've talked about emerald ash borer, I mean feral pigs.
There's, you know, I think about this list of species here, well the quagga and zebra mussels.
The state has done an amazing job of...
There was a positive detection several years back and a couple different water bodies in the state.
The state really amped up its boat check stations and it's a great success story.
We have not found any established adult populations of these mussels in Montana, in spite of us continuing to intercept boats coming through the state that are fouled with the mussels.
- You know and on that note we talked about ahead of time, it fascinated me.
Why don't you show what we found so far in the state and-- - Yeah.
So Tom Wolf, who was the director of the Aquatic Invasive Species Program for Fish Wildlife & Parks, he shared a graphic with me earlier in the week that there have been 16 mussel fouled boats already intercepted at boat check stations in the state in April.
Seven of them were coming from the Midwest and nine of them were coming from the southwest.
So that's pretty impressive that, you know, we've already found 16 boats this early in the season.
- That's scary if you actually think about it.
And when did those check stations open, pretty early?
- Yeah, some of them, if I remember, are opening in March.
And then I think there's 17 stations in total in the state.
- All right.
Well folks, we're down to another few seconds left in a nice program.
I wanna thank our special guest Jane, for being here.
Jeff, Abby and Clain, thank you for joining us via Zoom.
Why don't you to join us next week, cause you'll have a good time.
We have a county agent on who has been in the state forever.
Jerry Marks will talk about weed control programs in this county, join us.
Meanwhile, have a great week.
- [Narrator] For more information and resources, visit montanapbs.org/aglive.
(soft music) - [Narrator] "Montana AG Live" is made possible by The Montana Department of Agriculture, MSU Extension, The MSU AG Experiment Stations of the College of Agriculture, The Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, Cashman Nursery & Landscaping, The Northern Pulse Grower's Association and the Gallatin Gardener's Club.