Control Methods in Place for Noxious Weed Goatsrue in Northcentral PA

Local Landowners Encouraged to Identify and Cut Plants, Contact Hotline

Harrisburg – Goatsrue, a noxious weed identified in four northcentral Pennsylvania counties in 2009 continues to be monitored by the Department of Agriculture. The invasive weed may be fatal to sheep and cattle, but poses no human health threat, said acting Agriculture Secretary George Greig.

Fifty acres of goatsrue has been documented on 139 properties in Cameron, Elk, McKean and Potter counties. The sites have been identified as high, moderate and low priority, depending on the footage of infestation and potential for further seed development.

Notification will be sent to all property owners within the area in early March, outlining continued control measures for 2011. The agriculture department will work with the property owners to implement the control program, beginning with a pre-emergence herbicide program in the high priority areas in early spring. Treatment will continue with a post-emergence program as the season progresses.

Greig said the main infestation and the highest priority area is localized to a two-mile radius of Smethport Borough, Keating Township and adjoining municipalities. The infestation is related to the dredging of Hamlin Lake and the distribution of the fill material to local properties, specifically hayfields, drainage ditches, flowerbeds and landscaped areas, commercial aggregate material and vacant lots.

A legume, goatsrue is about 4-5 feet tall at maturity with 8-inch pinnate leaves with smaller leaflets and 20-50 purple to white flowers. Flowering begins in June and each flower produces a one- to two-inch pod with mustard colored seeds.

Greig added if landowners find any flowering plants this summer, they should cut the plants down to ground level to keep them from reseeding. Contact the agriculture department field technician to report the infestation or leave a message on the toll-free noxious weed hotline at 1-877-464-9333.

Goatsrue grows best in moist areas with full sun. It can be found along irrigated waterways, cropland, pastures, fence lines, roadways and wet, marshy areas.

For more information about goatsrue, including a brochure with pictures of the plant, visit and search “Goatsrue,” or contact Noxious Weed Program Manager Melissa Bravo at 717-787-7204.

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