- Common Lespedeza
- Lespedeza Identification and Control in Turfgrass
- Cultural Control
- Preemergence Herbicides
- Postemergence Herbicides
- Lespedeza control
- Sold on sericea hay (and other stuff)
- Will Surge get rid of common lespedeza or japanese clover in Centipede grass?
- What herbicide(s) can be used to eliminate weeds in a southern centipede/bermuda lawn?
- Can I use Dimension 2EW Herbicide for lespedeza pre-emergent control?
- Will AmTide MSM 60 DF Herbicide kill common lespedeza? Is it safe for centipede grass lawns?
- Will Hi-Yield Range and Pasture Dicamba + D get rid of common lespedeza?
- Is Trimec 992 safe to use on centipede for killing lespedeza?
- Will Tenacity kill lespedeza?
- Will Pasture Pro Herbicide kill Lespedeza?
- Does Tenacity Herbicide kill lespedeza?
- Will Quali-Pro MSM Turf Herbicide kill Lespedeza?
- Will Dismiss Turf Herbicide kill lespedeza in centipede?
- Does Ferti-Lome Centipede Weed and Feed 15-0-15 kill lespedeza?
- Can I use Celsius WG Herbicide to control lespedeza in centipede grass in the fall?
- In native grass pasture how long after spraying Remedy before cattle can graze?
- Is Hi-Yield Atrazine Weed Killer effective on lespedeza?
- Will TZone SE Broadleaf Herbicide for Tough Weeds kill lespedeza?
- Is the gallon size Speedzone in concentrate form or ready to use? What is the coverage area?
- Will QuinKill Max kill common plaintain?
- Will Certainty kill crabgrass in common bermuda?
- What is the most common tank size?
How to Identify Sedge Weeds
Sedge is a general name for a group of weeds that includes purple nutsedge, yellow nutsedge, and kyllinga. We tend to have a problem with purple nutsedge and kyllinga in south Louisiana. You can identify sedge weeds easily since they are a lighter green than the surrounding grass and they grow taller than grass in a much shorter time. Sedges have a triangular stem, meaning they have three points on the base growing from the ground. Sedges look like thin grass blades until they form a group of three leaves on top which then spouts a flower.
Sedges maintain a root system of rhizomes that average a full foot or more below the ground. The root systems can spread into a patch of sedge measuring between eight and twelve feet. These rhizomes extend to what appear to be new sedge plants growing close to one another, but are actually the same plant. The root system is also attached to starchy “nutlets” that provide plenty of food when the weed is cut. These plants are perennial, meaning you will see them during the summer every year until you get rid of the weed for good.
How to Get Rid of Sedge Weeds
First, you should manage the environmental conditions of your yard. Sedges like poorly drained soil that stays moist. If you have a problem with sedges, try filling in low spots or using aeration and top dressing with sand. Second, you may be mowing your grass too low. The lowest setting on your mower should not be used to cut grass except for maybe bermudagrass. Try raising your mower setting up to one of the higher settings. The grass should thicken up and look healthier, which will crowd out the weeds. Surprisingly, your grass will actually grow more slowly since it will not have to grow as aggressively each week to gather sunlight.
How to kill the sedge in your grass? Visit a local hardware store or nursery. Seek a “sedge killer” product that is labelled as safe to use on your grass variety. Most sedge control products require at least two applications spaced a few weeks apart. You will most likely need to do the same treatment again the following year to get full control of the weed. We use products like Certainty and Sedgehammer.
Summer brings a whole new “crop” of weeds to the Southeastern coastal plain. Clearly, weeds that thrive now are tolerant of high temperatures, defined in biology as above 86 degrees. Many summer weeds also tolerate drought.
Lespedeza, or Japanese clover, has tightly spaced leaves. Large patches of this weed can choke out centipede grass.
Many gardeners have a troublesome weed that is particularly annoying because it is difficult to eradicate. My weed nemesis is common lespedeza (Kummerowia striata, formerly named Lespedeza striata). Lespedeza grows prostrate, i.e., very low to the ground, in dense patches of a few to many plants. The more plants in a patch, the smaller each plant is.
Lespedeza, a legume, captures nitrogen, so the patches appear dark green in a centipede lawn that has not been overfertilized.
In the fall, common lespedeza will produce small, pink to lavender flowers. An interesting adaptation is some flowers never open, because they are self-fertile, while others open to allow cross-pollination with other common lespedeza plants.
In my experience, herbicide mixtures marketed for Southern lawns are not very effective against lespedeza. Several specific herbicides are available to treat lespedeza, but each one must be used carefully around other plants (https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/lespedeza/).
Dollar weed spreads by underground horizontal, white roots that send up single, round leaves.
Dollar weed (various species of Hydrocotyle) is a troublesome weed. The large, round green leaves on single stalks are unmistakable in the Lowcountry. They show up in areas that remain wet after a rain but will also invade well-drained spots as their white, fleshy rhizomes (horizontal roots) spread many feet.
Eradication of dollar weed is difficult (https://bit.ly/2IxLhXc). The rhizomes grow about 1 inch deep in soil, just deep enough to make pulling difficult. The rhizomes are brittle and break easily. I am happy when I can pull up a six-inch-long piece.
Deer occasionally eat dollar weed and leave the petioles (leaf stalks), but they don’t eat enough to be a useful biological control.
The herbicide sold as Image is reportedly more effective against dollar weed than other lawn herbicides. In my yard, Image turned dollar weed yellow, but the control lasted only one season.
In areas not planted to grass, e.g. mulched beds, spraying glyphosate, a systemic herbicide, on the undersides of leaves will kill leaves quickly. The undersides of dollar weed leaves are not waxy like the tops, so the herbicide penetrates better.
Chamber bitter has neat rows of flowers and fruits attached to the underside of the main leaf axis of most leaves.
Chamber bitter (Phyllanthus urinaria) is a deceptive weed. It looks relatively harmless with rows of leaflets arranged along a main leaf axis like a miniature mimosa tree. Hidden under the leaves, though, are dozens of tiny round fruits filled with tinier seeds. Even plants not much more than 1 inch tall will produce seeds.
Chamber bitter seedlings will grow in spaces between paving stones and other hard-to-reach areas. In landscape beds and lawns, this weed develops a large, fibrous root system that holds a ball of soil if weeds are pulled when the soil is moist.
Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.
Chamber bitter is a bit easier to control with herbicides than other summer weeds (https://bit.ly/2KdvPpd).
Prostrate spurge produces a flower at every branch point, which makes for a lot of seeds.
Spotted and prostrate spurges
The common names of two local spurges come from their botanical names. Spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata) has one reddish spot in the middle of each leaf. Both prostrate spurge (Euphorbia prostrata) and spotted spurge have prostrate reddish stems.
Plants of both species have oval, dull green leaves and tiny, pinkish flowers that nestle in the axils, the junction points of leaves and stem.
Another common name for prostrate spurge, prostrate sandmat, indicates how drought tolerant these species are. They are often found growing in the cracks of sidewalks and curbs. Plants in these spots can be dispatched with a dose of glyphosate, which should be applied before they flower.
To summarize, turf herbicides, which generally are a mixture of three different active ingredients, can be sprayed once or twice per year, but not more without risk of injuring lawns. Nonselective herbicides, such as glyphosate, can be used for weeds that are not close to other plants.
Nonchemical weed management includes using mulch or landscape fabric to block weed seed germination. Weeds often emerge after soil is tilled or disturbed, as when a new bed is installed. If weeds are eliminated before they produce seed, and the soil is left undisturbed and mulched, the bed should remain relatively weed free.
Anthony Keinath is professor of plant pathology at the Clemson Coastal Research & Education Center in Charleston. His expertise is in diseases of vegetables. He is also an avid gardener. Contact him at [email protected]
Lespedeza Identification and Control in Turfgrass
Bulletin 1395 View PDF picture_as_pdf
Patrick McCullough, University of Georgia
- Cultural Control
- Preemergence Herbicides
- Postemergence Herbicides
Common lespedeza (Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Schind syn. Lespedeza striata) is a freely branched, summer annual legume that is a problematic weed in lawns and other turf areas. Common lespedeza, also known as Japanese clover or annual lespedeza, has three smooth, oblong leaflets with parallel veins that are nearly perpendicular to the midvein (Figure 1). As common lespedeza matures, the stems harden and become woody, which is attributed to persistence and competition with turfgrasses in late summer (Figure 2). Flowers are pink to purple and present in the leaf axils. Other lespedeza species may also be found as weeds in turf, but common lespedeza is the primary species in Georgia.
Figure 1. Common lespedeza in a centipedegrass lawn. Photo by P. McCullough. Figure 2. Common lespedeza woody stems in late summer. Photo by P. McCullough
Korean clover (Kummerowia stipulacea (Maxim.) Makino syn. Lespedeza stipulacea) is an annual species similar in growth and appearance to common lespedeza. Korean clover has the weediness potential of common lespedeza but is distinguished by antrorse hairs (angled upward on stems) while common lespedeza has retrorse stem hairs (angled downward on stems). Korean clover and common lespedeza are distributed across the eastern United States from Florida to New York and west to Nebraska and Texas.
Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata Dum. Cours.) is a perennial species found in Georgia that may also be a weed of lawns and landscapes. Unlike common lespedeza, sericea lespedeza has an erect growth habit and may reach 5 feet in height if unmowed. In regularly maintained turfgrass, sericea lespedeza can be distinguished from common lespedeza by alternate, hairy leaves that are divided into three, oblong leaflets (Figure 3). Flowers are clustered and white with purple markings (Figure 4). The distribution of sericea lespedeza throughout the United States is similar to common lespedeza.
Figure 3. Leaves of sericea lespedeza (top) and common lespedeza (bottom). Photos by P. McCullough. Figure 4. Sericea lespedeza leaves and flower. Photo by P. McCullough.
Several cultural practices can be used to control or reduce pressure of lespedeza species in turf. Deep and infrequent irrigation encourages turfgrass root development, which may improve the ability of desired grasses to compete with annual weeds in mixed stands. Withholding water until the desirable turfgrass species exhibits initial drought stress symptoms can help reduce soil moisture for potential weed infestations. Overwatering, especially in shady areas, may predispose the site to the invasion of lespedeza and other annual weeds.
Practices that promote soil compaction should be avoided to promote turfgrass growth and competition with weed populations. If possible, turf managers should redirect traffic away from stressed areas to help promote turfgrass recovery over thinned turf. Core aerifications should be conducted during active turf growth and favorable periods for quick recovery. Voids left in turf with exposed soil following aerification may permit weed invasion during periods of peak germination. For tall fescue, aerficiation should be timed in early fall, once the grass has recovered from summer stresses. Warm-season grasses should only be aerified during active growth to promote recovery. Early spring aerification may predispose lawns to summer annual weed establishment since the grasses are not able to fill in voids in a timely manner.
Mowing height, frequency, and equipment requirements vary among turfgrass species and practitioners should maintain turf under appropriate regimes for successful long-term culture (Table 1). Raising the mowing height during peak germination of annual weeds, such as common lespedeza, may encourage turf competition to reduce potential infestations. Lower mowing heights reduce photosynthetic capacity of turfgrasses and may reduce competition with weed populations. Turfgrass should also be mowed frequently during periods of vigorous growth to prevent scalping. Scalping thins out turf and may enable weed establishment.
|Table 1. Mowing Requirements for Lawns in Georgia|
|Mowing Requirements for Turfgrasses|
|Rotary/reel||1 to 2||5 to 7|
|Rotary/reel||0.5 to 1.5||3 to 4|
|Centipedegrass||Rotary||1 to 2||5 to 10|
|St. Augustinegrass||Rotary||2 to 3||5 to 7|
|Tall Fescue||Rotary||3||5 to 7|
|Zoysiagrass||Reel||0.5 to 2||3 to 7|
Certain preemergence herbicides will control annual and perennial lespedeza if applied before seeds germinate (Table 2). Application timing of preemergence herbicides for lespedeza control in early spring is important. Preemergence herbicide should be applied in spring as soil temperatures reach low- to mid-50s (°F) in the upper 4 inches of the soil profile. Split applications may help extend the length of residual activity into late summer for control.
Most preemergence herbicides used in spring provide erratic levels of common lespedeza control. Dithiopyr (sold as Dimension) is a preemergence herbicide applied for grassy weed control but effectively controls common lespedeza in spring. Dithiopyr at 0.5 lb ai/acre or split applications of 0.375 lb ai/acre followed by 0.375 lb ai/acre after six to eight weeks may provide excellent control (greater than 90 percent) of common lespedeza.
Triazine herbicides, including atrazine and simazine, also have preemergence activity for controlling lespedeza species. Atrazine (brands include Aatrex and Bonus) is labeled for centipedegrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, and bermudagrass. Atrazine can be applied to actively growing and dormant centipedegrass or St. Augustinegrass, but bermudagrass can be injured if treated while actively growing. Simazine (brands include Princep and WynStar) may be applied to bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass lawns. Atrazine and simazine provide preemergence control of lespedeza, but soil residual generally lasts four to six weeks and repeat applications are required to control populations. Several atrazine and simazine products are not labeled for residential lawns and turf managers should check labels for further information before use in these areas.
Other preemergence herbicides, such as isoxaben (sold as Gallery), may control lespedeza, but results are often erratic and do not last the entire growing season.
Preemergence herbicide applications on non-irrigated sites have less potential for residual lespedeza control compared to irrigated turf from product loss, poor soil incorporation, and lack of herbicide activation by rainfall or irrigation. Turf managers should return clippings on non-irrigated sites to help move potential herbicides remaining on leaf tissue to the soil. If clippings are collected as part of routine maintenance, end-users should consider returning clippings until at least 0.5 to 1 inch of rainfall is received. Granular products may also be applied to non-irrigated sites for better soil incorporation than liquid formulations. Granular products may be easier to handle and apply with less equipment necessary than sprayable formulations. Granular preemergence herbicides should be applied when morning dew is no longer present to avoid interference from leaf tissue.
Sulfonylurea herbicides are popular for postemergence weed control in warm-season grasses but have variable activity on broadleaf weeds. Metsulfuron (brands include Manor) is an effective postemergence sulfonylurea for broadleaf weed control in Southern lawns (Table 2). Metsulfuron (60 DF) applications from 0.25 to 0.5 oz of product per acre effectively control annual broadleaf weeds, but repeat applications may be needed for complete control of lespedeza, especially in late summer. Combination products containing metsulfuron, such as Blindside (metsulfuron + sulfentrazone) also effectively control common lespedeza in warm-season grasses. Tall fescue is sensitive to metsulfuron at rates required for effective broadleaf weed control and other chemistries are generally more suitable for cool-season turfgrasses (Table 3).
Combinations of metsulfuron with another broadleaf herbicide, such as dicamba, are effective treatments for lespedeza control in most warm-season grasses (Table 2). Dicamba has significant activity on lespedeza and other broadleaf weeds. Dicamba is a benzoic acid herbicide commonly found in prepackaged mixtures with 2,4-D and other phenoxies. These formulated mixture products such as Trimec Classic, Escalade, and Triplet may be used for safe and effective lespedeza control in tall fescue, bermudagrass, and zoysiagrass (Table 3). Other similar chemistries, such as clopyralid and triclopyr, are available alone or in combination products that are effective against lespedeza. Repeat applications of these herbicides may be needed and should not be applied if tall fescue or other turfgrasses are under significant summer stress.
Triazine herbicides effectively control common lespedeza and related species with postemergence applications in warm-season grasses. Atrazine (like Bonus S) may also be applied to actively growing centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass for selective postemergence lespedeza control (Table 3). Atrazine has excellent activity on lespedeza but is not recommended for use in actively growing bermudagrass. Simazine (like WynStar) may be applied to actively growing bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass and provides excellent postemergence control.
See product labels for registered areas of these products before using for postemergence lespedeza control. See Table 2 for a list of herbicides labeled for use in turf and efficacy ratings for postemergence common lespedeza control. See Table 3 for turfgrass tolerance levels to preemergence and postemergence herbicides for common lespedeza control.
|Table 2. Efficacy of Herbicides for Common Lespedeza Control in Turfgrass|
|Application Timing||Common Name||Trade Name (Examples)||Control†|
|Preemergence||atrazine||Aatrex, Bonus S, others||F-G|
|simazine||Princep, Wynstar, others||F-G|
|Postemergence||2,4-D + dicamba + MCPP||Trimec, Triplet, others||G|
|atrazine||Aatrex, Bonus S, others||E|
|fluroxypyr + 2,4-D + dicamba||Escalade||G|
|metsulfuron + sulfentrazon||Blindside||G-E|
|quinclorac + 2,4-D + dicamba + sulfentrazone||Q4 Plus||E|
|simazine||Princep, Wynstar, others||E|
|triclopyr + 2,4-D||various||G|
|triclopyr + clopyralid||Confront||E|
|†Excellent = 90 to 100%, Good = 80 to 89%, Fair = 70 to 79%.|
|Table 3. Turfgrass Tolerance to Herbicides for Common Lespedeza Control|
|Common Name||Trade Name (Examples)||Bermuda-grass||Centipede-grass||St. Augustine-grass||Tall Fescue||Zoysiagrass|
|2,4-D + dicamba + MCPP||Trimec, others||S||I||I||S||S|
|atrazine||Aatrex, others||S (dormant)||S||S||NS||S|
|fluroxypyr + 2,4-D + dicamba||Escalade||S||I||I||S||S|
|metsulfuron + sulfentrazone||Blindside||S||S||I||NS||S|
|quinclorac + 2,4-D + dicamba + sulfentrazone||Q4 Plus||S||NS||NS||S||S|
|triclopyr + 2,4-D||various||NS||NS||NS||S||S|
|triclopyr + clopyralid||Confront||NS||NS||NS||S||S|
|†S = Safe for use at labeled rates. I = Intermediate tolerance at labeled rates with turf injury potential. NS = Not safe for use.|
Status and Revision History
Published on Oct 12, 2011
Published with Minor Revisions on Nov 30, 2014
Q: I have been trying to control an infestation of what I think is lespedeza in my centipede lawn for a good number of years. What are your suggestions?
A: Congratulations! You identified the plant correctly, and that’s always the first step toward weed control.
Lespedeza is an annual summer weed, meaning it sprouts from seed every spring but dies in fall. If it’s only in the area I see by the driveway, hand-pulling is a good option. You could also use herbicides labeled for use on centipede lawns….but I have a better long term choice..
Lespedeza is very well adapted to compacted soil, while centipedegrass is not. Since the weed is growing in a band near your driveway, I suspect the soil there is compacted from errant car tires. The soil could also be more often damp after rain or irrigation.
Consider digging up the entire area and planting centipedegrass sod. If the whole lawn has patches of lespedeza, aerate it thoroughly in early May and fertilize twice each year until you get a vigorous lawn, which will choke out the lespedeza.
Lawn Care and Maintenance Calendars
Tags For This Article: centipede, lespedeza
Controlling lespedeza in a lawn can be somewhat difficult. A pre-emergent can help but there are probably thousands to millions of seeds in the soil and they don’t all germinate at the same time.
The best practice to get rid of most of this lawn pest is to use an herbicide that contains 2,4-D plus Dicamba plus Tryclopyr or a combination of two of them. A good full service garden center should be able to direct you to an appropriate product. Be sure it is listed as safe to use on lawn grasses.
Timing should be when the weed is young but actively growing. In your area that would usually be in mid April to early May. You want to make the application before the weed flowers and sets seeds. Read the label on the herbicide to see what it says about a second spraying in the same season. Some can be used and some should have a longer period of time between applications.
You will most likely get fairly decent die back of the weed this season, but it will come back next year from the seeds that are still present in the soil. Therefore, be prepared to do this again next year. If the lawn is looking better, less weed infested, you might be able to do spot treatments next year instead of wide spread spraying.
Use of a weed and feed product may help eliminate some of the problem but feeding a fescue lawn in the spring is generally not recommended. If you have a warm season grass such as zoysia or bermuda, then spring feeding and weeding at the same time is okay.
Whatever products you use, please be sure to read and follow the label directions carefully. They are there to help you get the best results from the product (more is NOT better!) and for the protection and safety of the applicant as well as anyone else in the area. It also helps prevent their overuse and potential pollution by these products.
This publication from Virginia Tech gives good advice on spring and summer care of lawns in Virginia. If you have additional questions you may contact your local office of Virginia Cooperative Extension which can be found on this website or use the reply feature within this email.
Thanks for using Ask an Expert!
Sold on sericea hay (and other stuff)
He seeded Bulldog 505 alfalfa in mid-October 2016 after first getting the soil pH high enough for successful stand establishment. When Hay & Forage Grower visited the farm in early July, Edwards was in the process of taking a second cutting of what was essentially a near pure alfalfa stand. Edwards plans to bale the crop and sell it to local horse owners, while also using some of the production for his own horses.
Like most farms in the Piedmont region of South Carolina, Edwards was cursed with a lot of native tall fescue, which harbors the toxic endophyte fungus. He’s currently in the process of getting those acres converted to novel endophyte tall fescue. Previously, he established one pasture with Barenbrug’s BarOptima PLUS E34 variety and had a smother crop planted on another pasture during this past summer. His smother crop consisted of pearl millet, sunn hemp, cowpea, soybean, daikon radish, rape, and sunflower. The horses were “belly-deep” in forage during July, which Edwards was strip grazing using a back fence.
Prior to the smother crop, Edwards sprayed the native tall fescue with glyphosate, but it had unfortunately already gone to seed. “I’m thinking it will take two smother crops to fully eliminate the toxic fescue,” Edwards said. He interseeded small grains this winter with plans for a second smother crop in the spring. He then will seed the novel tall fescue in fall 2018.
Edwards had one final new forage enterprise in 2017. On some rented land, he seeded teff grass, which will be baled and sold to horse owners. Teff has been identified as a possible “low-carb” forage source for horses that have become overweight and are at risk for several metabolic diseases.
Edwards is invested in his horses and diverse forage enterprises. He researches, discusses, attends meetings, and then makes decisions. He stops and tries things such as sericea lespedeza when most others would just turn to the next page. Sure, not everything works, but then we all can claim that badge of honor.
Like so many things in farming, human passion often is the difference between success and failure. Edwards is passionate about his forages and when asked what he planned to do with all the year-round pasture and hay resources he will soon have, Edwards’ reply was, “Maybe I’ll add some cows.”
This article appeared in the February 2018 issue of Hay & Forage Grower on pages 26 to 28.
Not a subscriber?
Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata)
Sericea is widely adapted in the Southeast but is best suited for use as a pasture plant on medium- to well-drained clay, sandy loam soils and deep sands, as well as eroded areas, from southern Ohio to central Alabama and from eastern Oklahoma to the Atlantic coast. It also does well on shallow soils with drainage restrictions. Sericea lespedeza will tolerate lower pH (more acid) soils than clover but will definitely respond to lime applications on acid soils. Its ability to grow in poor, droughty soil makes sericea a popular choice for stabilizing critical areas, such as road banks and mine reclamation sites. However, it can also fill a niche on many livestock farms in areas where most pastures are dominated by cool season forage crops, especially on sites where other forage crops are not well adapted.
Sericea lespedeza is an erect, deep-rooted perennial legume that persists for many years, especially on low-maintenance areas. It usually grows only 6 to 12 inches the first year. It does not spread by rhizomes and stolons. The first growth in the spring arises from crown buds. New growth after cutting or grazing arises from buds on the stubble and not the crown. General growth period is April to November 1. Peak growth period is June, July and August, with annual yield of 2 to 3 tons per acre. Sericea lespedeza does not self-destruct if not used because it produces a seed crop in late summer and fall.
Sericea lespedeza is preferably seeded alone and does not compete well with other plants. It may be overseeded with winter annuals if carefully managed. The main winter annual legume sometimes grown with sericea lespedeza is crimson clover. Seeding crimson clover in the fall will provide grazing in the spring and not damage the lespedeza if the clover is grazed closely in April and May. The quality of sericea lespedeza is moderate quality — 50-percent to 55-percent digestible and 12-percent to 16-percent crude protein. But forage quality of improved varieties is better than most warm season perennial grasses.
Goats graze the leaves and the tender and terminal stems and will consume the plant at all stages of growth. If allowed to reach 18- to 24-inches growth or more, it becomes woody, stemmy and high in fiber.
Tannins, compounds that naturally occur in sericea lespedeza and some other forage plants, reduce the intake and digestibility of fresh forage. Consequently, forage-type sericea lespedeza varieties are often categorized as being high-tannin or low-tannin types. Serala and Serala 76 are improved varieties that have smaller stems and higher forage quality than the older, common varieties. Serela 76 was released by Auburn University because of its resistance to nematodes. Interstate 76 is also an Auburn variety. It was selected because of its resistance to pests and erosion control potential on roadsides and areas that erode easily. AU-Lotan and AU-Donnelly are more recent Auburn releases developed with low tannins for improved palatability and digestibility. AU Grazer, another variety developed by Auburn especially for grazing, has intermediate tannin levels.
Up to a certain level in the daily ration, tannins are known to increase the amount of protein bypassing the rumen, thus making the goats use their feed more efficiently. In addition, there has been some recent success in reducing barberpole fecal egg counts and perhaps the adult worm numbers by feeding sericea lespedeza, either fresh or as hay. Animals prefer the young plants, but it should not be grazed until it is at least 4 to 6 inches in height to preserve the stand. Whether goats need to graze sericea lespedeza on a daily basis or only at regular intervals for tannins to have a beneficial effect on parasite loads has not yet been fully determined.
Sericea lespedeza is on the noxious weed list in some states, such as Kansas and Colorado. Missouri and Oklahoma are among other states attempting to get this designation.