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does millet seed cause weeds

Learn About Millet

Cercospora Leaf Spot: Small lesions develop on leaves with gray or tan centers and black dots. Lesions may also develop on stems. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants and destroy all plant debris. Rotate crops. Control weeds.

Downy Mildew: This fungus causes whitish gray patches on the undersides and eventually both sides of the leaves. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Avoid overhead watering. Provide adequate air circulation, do not overcrowd plants. Do not work around plants when they are wet.

Ergot: Flower heads exude a creamy white honeydew that turn into brown spiky structures. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops. Provide good air circulation and garden sanitation, remove infected plant parts.

Rust: A number of fungus diseases that cause rust colored spots on foliage, stalks and husks. Burpee Recommends: Practice crop rotation. Remove infected plants. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Smut: This fungus affects the seed-heads causing them to expand and turn dark brown and then black as the spores grow. Burpee Recommends: Remove flower heads at the first sign of the disease, before the seeds burst open. Rotate crops.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Armyworm: Holes in leaves can be singular or clumped together. Leaves can become skeletonized. Egg clusters may be evident on foliage with a cottony or fuzzy appearance. Young larvae are pale green and adults are darker with a light line along the side and pink underside. Burpee Recommends: Introduce natural enemies to the area.

Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.

Stalk Borer: The larvae of this insect tunnel up and down inside the plant stem causing the plants to wilt. By the time the plant wilts it is too late to save it. The larva is 1.5 inches long, greyish brown with one dorsal stripe and two lateral stripes on each side. The lateral stripes on the front half are interrupted and the lower brown stripe extends forward onto the side of the head. The eggs hatch in May to early June, after the moth lays them the previous September or October. Burpee Recommends: Remove and destroy all plant debris and nearby weeds.

Wireworms: These insects live in the soil and kill seedlings by girdling their stems at the soil line, bore into stems, roots and tubers. They may be found around the stems in the soil are and ¼ to ¾ inch long, thin, yellow brown worms with a shiny skin. The adults are called click beetles, and are about 1/3 inch long, reddish brown with a hard shell. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations which must be applied prior to planting.

Can I grow millet in containers? Yes, shorter varieties look dramatic in large containers.

Is millet hardy? No, while this is an ornamental grass, it is not able to tolerate winter. It is a tender perennial. You can dig up small clumps and overwinter them indoors.

Is millet related to corn? Yes, corn is related to grass and so is millet.

Does millet attract pollinators to the garden? Yes it attracts bees, butterflies and birds.

Why isn’t my purple millet turning purple? These plants need full sun for the most intense color.

How to Keep Weeds Out of Your Lawn the Organic Way

Having a perfectly green and weed free lawn is close to an obsession in the United States. For many years, chemical treatments have been largely considered to be acceptable. Recently, there has been more focus on green methods and protecting the environment. As a result, more people are looking for organic ways to control weeds in their gardens.

Maintain a Healthy Lawn

This first principle in preventing weeds in your yard is to keep the lawn healthy. You need healthy soil in order to have a healthier lawn. Take a soil sample to your local extension office to find out what your lawn may need. Fertilize with non-synthetic organic products that can be found in the garden center, online, or through mail order. Lawns should be fertilized twice a year, once in spring and once in the fall.

Overseed the lawn in order to crowd out weeds. The closer grass blades grow together, the less room there is for weeds. It is also better to mow the lawn regularly, but to only cut off one third of the blades, and to leave the clippings on the lawn. Clippings break down into the lawn to further feed it, and keeping lawn a bit longer allows it to shade the ground, preventing weed seeds from germinating.

Watering the lawn appropriately is also important. Make sure that you plant grass that is meant for your climate. This will cut down on the watering that needs to be done. In climates where it rains regularly, supplemental watering is not necessary. In dry regions, plant grass that is drought tolerant, and only water as needed.

Eliminate Weed Sources

There are a couple of ways to eliminate weeds before they occur by removing the sources of the weeds. You need to determine what is important to you regarding bird feeders as they are a big source of weeds in the lawn. Thistle and millet seed feeders are particularly good at causing a weed problem in your yard. Many birdseed mixes contain millet, and birds sometimes do not like it and will pitch it onto the ground where weeds will germinate and cause problems.

Another way to eliminate weeds at the source is to take care of weeds before they go to seed. As kids, we enjoyed blowing seeds off of spent dandelions, but this is not a good thing in a lawn that you want to keep weed free. It can be difficult to keep up with removing dandelions, but digging them up is the best way to ensure that more will not appear.

Hand Weeding

If you can keep your lawn healthy and relatively weed free, then hand weeding will not seem like such a daunting task. Keep up with the weeds on a regular basis, and there will be less to do at one time. There are tools that can help with hand weeding such as a forked handheld tool that you dig into the ground and digs up weed root and all. You can also buy a long handled weed popper that you push down into the soil. It grabs the weed and pulls it out when you lift the tool. Use a bit of water or weed after the rain so that the weed is easier to remove.

Organic Herbicide and Pre-emergent

There are a few name brand choices for organic herbicide. They are based on natural botanical pyrethins or citrus oils. You can find such products at your local garden center, online or in a mail order catalog. An inexpensive homemade weed control is to use a spray bottle of vinegar on each weed. As a result, the weeds will wither and die. A pre-emergent is a product that is spread on lawns in the spring in order to prevent weeds from germinating. Natural corn gluten meal is a good organic choice for this technique. It does not harm grass while keeping weeds down.

Does millet seed cause weeds

Twentyfive years ago, wild proso millet was not a major grassy weed problem in most of midwestern North American corn and row-crop fields. It is now. Why?

Population shifts in weed species in an area are caused by powerful selective forces in our production system, especially in our weed management systems. As new herbicides were introduced in the 1960’s and 1970’s many weed species that dominated before that time were now tamed, like the foxtails for an example. This highly effective herbicide weed control left bare spots in our fields: good for the grower, but unfortunately an empty apartment house to wild proso millet.

The seed, dormant in the soil seed bank, grabbed the opportunity offered and spread like wildfire in places like southern Wisconsin and Southern Ontario. Below is that nasty seed. The range of seed color is a reflection of biodiversity with the species. There is both a crop proso millet (primarily birdseed in North America), and the weed. This biodiversity could be either due to genetic or somatic polymorphism. In North America the black and darker seed usually is associated with the weedy types, while the lighter brown and cream color seed is from the crop. A caution though, I noticed very black proso millet crop seed being grown for food in northern China (Manchuria), so seed color might be deceiving:

If left to reproduce, this species is a prolific seed producer, as seen in the carpet of seed on the ground under a corn crop in the late part of the growing season:

Escaping many common herbicides, the little seedlings get a start in corn:

Below can be seen the root system of a young plant, if you look carefully you can still see the seed attached to the root sytem below. Because the seed will often stay with the roots, this can be used in field ID, especially when the you are unsure if it is wild proso millet or woolly cupgrass. The seedlings of these two can be similar: broad, almost corn-like, leaves.

The hairy ligule and collar region:

The plant can look like a wimpy corn plant (left).

Stems (hairy) and leaf arrangement. Notice the flowering plant on the right; even though it is riddled with smut disease it still managed to set seed. Nothing can stop a determined wild proso millet plant.

Besides prolific and dormant seed waiting to take over a corn field, wild proso millet dominates because it has an unusually well developed herbicide resistance system. Once I applied 99 lbs. atrazine (10-100 times recommended rates) to wild proso millet in the greenhouse. It grew bigger than the untreated plants, possibly because it used the rapidly degraded herbicide as a nitrogen source. The weeds always win. Below are two plants that seem to be surviving a dose of an ACCase inhibiting herbicide:

Below can be seen some wild proso millet plants injured by alachlor. Notice the rippled leaves, the leaves stuck together in the whorl (not unfolded and spread properly), and the interesting deformities. The picture on the left also shows a whitish soybean cotyledon injured by frost early in the season. This picture reveals an important fact about alachlor, it can cause more injury to plants when growing conditions are unfavorable (cool):

Wild proso millet causes very large crop yield losses if allowed to:

Another (of very many) reason wild proso millet is such a successful weed is its ability to change and adapt to what resources it can find each season: plasticity. If the resources are small and it is late in the season it can set a couple of seeds from a very tiny plant (left). If it has lots of goodies to grow and it starts early it can grow very large, tillering to form more seedheads and seed (right).