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Wanted: The Unwanted

Jun 14, 2011

Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata), or Chinese bush clover, is an introduced perennial legume native to eastern Asia. As early as 1930 to 1950, Chinese bush clover was planted in Missouri and Kansas. It was recognized for its tolerance of drought, acidity and shallow soils of low fertility. Its ability to thrive under a variety of conditions and its tendency to crowd out more palatable plants are among the reasons it has become noxious in some states. Chinese bush clover was planted in the past to control erosion, provide forage for livestock and provide cover and food for wildlife. The plant has spread to every county in Missouri and almost every eastern county of Kansas. Even though it is grown in the southern states as a forage and hay crop, here in Missouri we are combating it at the landowner level. This aggressive legume has a low nitrogen-fixation rate and has little effect on the status of soil nitrogen. It has been shown to increase the nitrogen content of associated grass, but it emits chemicals that affect other organisms’ growth, reproduction and survival, which offsets the nitrogen it produces. June is the best time to start attacking this unwanted legume. Herbicides containing tryclopyr have shown the best results in field trials as well as landowner testimonies. Two common brands are Pasturegard and Remedy. Other herbicides are available. Please read and follow label instruction and cautions. For more information on controlling this invasive legume, contact your local private land conservationist or go to your nearest Missouri Department of Conservation office.


large group of sericea lespedeza plants
Sericea Lespedeza


James: You may wish to Google search on the terms "crow control." For MDC recommendations, contact our Kansas City Regional Office at 816/622-0900. Good luck.

My name is James, I'm the Grounds keeper of the UMKC Hospital Hill Campus and for the last two years a very large murder of crows has gatherd around the Med School and Dental School leaving everything covered with bird dropping. The mess and smell is horrable. Is there a way to get rid of them, just scear them off ? Any help would be greatly wellcomed. thank you

Rural road maintenance seems to spread this weed. The road graders pull 30' out into hay fields to turn and then I have a new patch. With the seed stores of sericea and johnson grass on the county road right-of-way, fighting this stuff is a loosing battle.

It is unfortunate that the Missouri Department of Conservation recommends toxic chemistry to be used for the eradication of unwanted plant species. Spraying chemistry on our ground runs into water tables. You all know that. Cut down Lespedeza. You cannot stop it. Kudzu, hemp, cannot stop these plant species. Bad decisions decades ago should not be followed up by more bad decisions to use toxic chemistry. page crow

Related Content

Sericea Lespedeza Invasive Species Fact Sheet (pdf, 318 KB)

Use this print-and-carry sheet to identify and control invasive sericea lespedeza on your Missouri property.

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