Agricultural News: Goldenrod and Ragweed

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   August means goldenrods are in full bloom! These beautiful perennials boast masses of yellow flowers and are an important food source for our pollinators as they prepare for fall. Unfortunately, Goldenrods (top photo) share their bloom time with Ragweed (bottom photo) and often get blamed for something they are not responsible for—hay fever! 

   Ragweed blooms are arranged on tall spikes and greenish in color; they are not showy like Goldenrods.  Ragweed pollen is very small and spreads through the wind. Goldenrod pollen is larger, heavier, and sticky, making it ideal for insect pollination (and harder for it to travel very far in the wind). 

   As previously mentioned, goldenrods are an important food source for pollinators. Bees and other insects collect nectar and pollen as they prepare for winter. 

   While goldenrod is a beneficial plant for pollinators, they are considered a weed in our pastures and hayfields. They grow rapidly and can spread aggressively by rhizomes, so it’s important for livestock producers to keep goldenrods out of their pastures and hayfields.

   However, there are several species that you can plant right in your landscape! Some of the varieties you may consider are Zig Zag Goldenrod, Early Goldenrod, Elm-leaved Goldenrod, Gray/Old Field Goldenrod, or Showy Goldenrod. Be sure to know your site before selecting one of the goldenrod varieties for your landscape as some do better in wet or dry conditions, some do better in full sun and vice versa. For more information on goldenrods available commercially in Tennessee for your landscape, visit https://tynnativeplants.wordpress.com/, highlight “flowers” on the navigation bar, select “Common name”. You can scroll through all the flowers native to Tennessee that you can purchase commercially, or simply type “goldenrod” in the search box in the top right corner of the website.

   If you have any questions, please contact our office at 931-722-3229 or e-mail Megan Harris at mdharris@utk.edu.

Photos courtesy of Canva.com

UPCOMING PROGRAM:

  UT GARDENS TOUR

   On August 20th, we will be taking a tour of the UT Gardens Jackson! The tour & talk on landscape plants will be led by Celeste Scott. Please call our office to register.

   This will be a fun day of fellowship & education! I sure hope you will join us.

   No fee for this event. Participants will need to arrange their own transportation. The carpool will leave our office at 7:30am.