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Sherman County Area Watershed Council
 Call us at: 541-565-3216 X 106
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Solutions For Rush Skeletonweed

Sherman County SWCD, NRCS, Weed District and Watershed Council
are exploring new ways to control invasive weed invasion. Aerial and
ground spraying are desired weed control strategies but in places that
are inaccessible and financially unfeasible biological control is a cost 
effective alternative. Future funding for the control of invasive weeds 
is desired depending on participation and interest of landowners.
If you have any question or would like more information on this funding
pool please contact our office at 541-565-3216!

How to distribute biological agents into new area: Place individual stems of infected skeleton weed next to uninfected skeleton weed in encroached areas.The natural enemies will complete their development within the new stems and leaves, emerge, and disperse to the other plants. Redistribute biological control agents to different areas: The easiest way, particularly for sites that are heavily infested with the weed, is to collect rush skeletonweed stems that are infested with the mite, midge, fungus, or any combination of the three from infested sites. Trim seedheads and flowers off the infested plants and tie the stems into bundles as shown in the photo above to form “teepees.” Place several teepees among the rush skeletonweed at the release sites during mid-to late summer. The natural enemies will complete their development within the old stems and leaves, emerge, and disperse to the other plants. 
Gall midge
(Cystiphora schmidti):

All rush skeleton weed biotypes are attacked by the midge, but the late flowering biotypes are the most heavily damaged. Upon hatching, the pink to orange larvae feed on the tissues beneath the surface of the leaf or stem where they hatch.

Rust fungus
(Puccinia chondrillina):

Fall and spring infection of rosettes, especially those of seedlings, often kills plants prior to bolting. Open wounds or lesions, Produced by and telia cause desiccation, reduced photosynthetic surface area, increased plant susceptibility to other pathogens, and suppressed plant growth. Heavily rust-infected floral stems are stunted, deformed, and produce few branches. The fungus reduces production, weight, and viability of seeds. The weed’s ability to regenerate from root buds is also reduced.

Gall mite
(Eriophyes chondrillae):

This minute yellowish-orange mite, attacks all biotypes of rush
Skelton weed in the Pacific Northwest, but is most damaging to the late-flowering forms. It is the most effective biological control agent against rush skeleton weed. 

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