Leafy weed seeds

Leafy Spurge

Efforts must be made to prevent seed maturation and dispersal of plants into new areas. Additionally, no transportation, propagation, or sale of these plants is allowed. Failure to comply may result in enforcement action by the county or local municipality. Minnesota Noxious Weed Law.

Background

Leafy spurge is native to Eurasia and has become widespread throughout the United States. It was introduced to Minnesota in 1890 as seed in a bushel of oats from Russia. By 1992, it was estimated that there were 800,000 infested acres in the central, northern, and western parts of the state, in addition to the Twin Cities area. In response, approximately 9 million leafy spurge beetles (Aphthona lacertosa) were released at over 2,000 sites in Minnesota from 1994 to the present as a biological control. Biological control with the beetles has been overwhelmingly cost-effective and successful at greatly reducing infestations at most sites. The use of beetles to control spurge continues to be a collaborative effort with public and private land managers, County Agricultural Inspectors, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).

Description

  • Leafy spurge is a perennial plant with greenish-yellow flower bracts.
  • Most leafy spurge plants flower in May and June, although mowed stems may flower later.
  • The leaves are simple and opposite with a blue-grey hue.
  • If the stems or leaves are cut, a distinctive white, milky sap exudes. One plant can send up clusters of multiple stems that arise from the same underground root system.
  • The plant reaches a maximum height of about 4 feet.

Habitat

Leafy spurge is an invader of pastures, grasslands, prairies, and roadsides. It grows in full to part sun in a wide range of soil types, from dry to moist.

Means of spread and distribution

Each plant can produce large clumps of shoots from extensive underground stems and roots allowing the weed to overtake other vegetation quickly. In addition, leafy spurge also produces seed that explodes from the seedpods and can travel up to 20 feet. The seed is durable and can remain viable up to 10 years. Leafy spurge can disperse by wildlife, wind, water, vehicles, contaminated soil and hay. Disturbances such as road construction create opportunities for leafy spurge to spread along roadways and into agricultural and natural areas.

Leafy spurge is distributed across the northern half of the United States. Northwestern states have long battled vast infestations. Leafy spurge is reported in all Minnesota counties with the largest infestations in western Minnesota.

Impact

Once a stand of leafy spurge becomes established, it reduces pasture or grassland productivity. If leafy spurge is present in a hayfield, the hay cannot be cut and moved, resulting in economic loss. Infestations can displace native plants and reduce wildlife habitat.

Prevention and management

  • Prevent the spread of seed on equipment such as mowers by cleaning the equipment after working in an infested area. Using a broom to brush seed off a mower deck is an inexpensive way to reduce seed movement from infested areas. Make sure that seed is not moving on vehicles, in tire tread or on boot soles. Do not move infested hay. To manage leafy spurge, infestations need to be monitored and treated until the seedbanks and resprouts are depleted.
  • Mowing before flowering can reduce seed production. Repeated mowing throughout the season is required to cut resprouts. Mowing alone will not eliminate these infestations; in fact, it can actually increase their densities. Mowing can be beneficial when used several weeks prior to herbicide applications to increase herbicide contact with resprouting foliage.
  • Repeated herbicide applications during the early spring and fall result can effectively reduce spurge. If you plan to use herbicide treatments, check with your local University of Minnesota extension agent, co-op, or certified landscape care expert for assistance and recommendations.
  • Biological control is an option for reducing large infestations. Long-term studies consistently demonstrate the reliability of spurge beetles to reduce large, stable infestations. Biological control is not effective at sites with disturbance such as flooding, construction, mowing and overgrazing. The MDA, in cooperation with the Minnesota Association of County Agricultural Inspectors, oversees a statewide biological control program for this noxious weed that is free of charge to landowners. To learn more about biological control, contact the MDA or your County Agricultural Inspector.
  • Goat and sheep grazing can reduce leafy spurge. Allow time for seed to pass through their systems before moving them to uninfested areas. The animals can also move seed on their coats and hooves.
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Toxicity

Leafy spurge is toxic to cattle and horses. These animals avoid leafy spurge unless no other forage is available.

A guide to buying cannabis seeds

The first couple months of the year is a great time to start planning your cannabis garden to get a head start on the outdoor growing season, which roughly runs from March to November, depending on where you live.

Navigating the cannabis seed market can be challenging when states have different degrees of legality. This guide will answer your questions on buying seeds so you can be on your way to growing your own cannabis.

Is it legal to buy marijuana seeds?

Marijuana seeds are considered a cannabis product just like flower, edibles, and concentrates. Their legality depends on which state you live in. People living in states with adult-use legalization can buy, produce, and sell seeds within their own state, but seeds can’t cross state lines. People living in states with medical marijuana legalization can only buy seeds if they have a medical card.

Seed banks exist outside of the US and can sell them for “souvenir purposes,” but it is illegal to bring seeds into the US and Customs will seize any cannabis seeds they find in packages or on a person.

Where can I buy cannabis seeds?

Many world-renowned seed banks are overseas in the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, and other countries where cannabis laws are less restricted. Seed banks provide seeds from a variety of different breeders.

In states with adult-use legalization or a medical marijuana program, you can buy seeds within your own state, either at a dispensary or through a specific seed company’s website.

Can you buy cannabis seeds online?

Before you purchase seeds online, you’ll need to figure out what strain you want to grow and what breeder you want to buy from.

Because US federal law still prohibits cannabis, it can be hard to find information on seed banks and breeders. Breeders who have a long history and positive reputation are usually a good place to start.

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Check out our explainer and buying guide to cannabis seed banks for more info on buying seeds.

To get an idea of what well-established breeders look like, check out:

Europe

  • Sensi Seeds
  • DNA Genetics
  • Dinafem
  • Green House Seeds

US

  • Southern Humboldt Seed Collective
  • Exotic Genetix

You can also do some research and find an online grow journal that details the whole growing process of a specific strain from a particular breeder. Through these, you’ll be able to look over another grower’s specific notes and see pictures of the final results.

If you grow some seeds and like the results, try growing another strain from that same breeder and see how it goes.

Do dispensaries sell cannabis seeds?

Some dispensaries in medical and adult-use states sell seeds, but not all. Be sure to check or call ahead to see if they sell seeds. Buying marijuana seeds at the dispensary is far more straightforward, however, your options will be more limited than shopping online.

Dispensary staff should be able to give you information on the seeds they’re selling, but keep in mind that a lot of dispensaries focus on selling flower and end-products. It’s a good idea to call ahead and talk to staff to see if they are knowledgeable about seeds and can give you specific information on growing.

How to look for quality genetics when buying marijuana seeds

Breeders talk about “unstable genetics,” meaning that a seed’s origin is unknown. Make sure that when you buy a packet of seeds that it or the breeder who produced them can list where the seeds came from and how they were crossed and/or backcrossed to get the seed that you hold in your hand. If you can’t get a seed’s history, it could be anything and the result of poor breeding practices.

An inexperienced breeder might cross a male and a female one time and sell the resulting seeds as a new hybrid strain, but professional breeders usually put their strains through several rounds of backcrossing to stabilize the genetics and ensure consistent plants that reflect those genetics.

Which strain should I grow?

Even one weed plant can produce a lot of buds come harvest time, so make sure you grow a strain you like. Note strains you enjoy when you pick something up at the dispensary or smoke with friends, and look for seeds of it when you want to start growing.

Some strains are easier to grow than others because they are more resistant to mold and pests, so if you’re new to growing, you may want to try an easier strain to start.

Some strains also take longer to grow than others. Depending on whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, you may want to grow a quicker marijuana strain if you live in a climate that get cold and wet early in the season. For example, indicas are known for having a shorter flowering time than sativas.

All of this information should be available to you when buying quality seeds.

What’s the difference between regular, feminized, and autoflower seeds?

Regular seeds

If you buy a packet of regular seeds, they’ll come with a mix of males and females. A lot of cultivators prefer to grow these because they haven’t been backcrossed—essentially inbred—as much as feminized or autoflower seeds. You’ll need to sex out the seeds once their reproductive organs show during the flowering phase and discard the males—because they don’t produce buds and will pollenate females, resulting in seeded flowers.

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Feminized seeds

Seeds can come feminized, meaning you can just put them in soil and start growing for buds. These seeds are guaranteed to be bud-producing females and growing them cuts out the step of having to sex out plants and discard the males.

It also reduces the risk of having a stray male sneak into your crop—just one male can pollinate a huge crop, causing your females to focus their energies on producing seeds instead of buds.

Autoflower seeds

Autoflower plants change from the vegetative to flowering state with age, not the changing of their light cycle. They have a short grow-to-harvest time and can be ready to harvest in as little as 2 ½ to 3 months from when you put the seeds in the ground. The downside is that, typically, they are less potent, but autoflower seeds are great for people who want to grow cannabis but don’t want to spend a lot of time doing it.

How much do marijuana seeds cost?

Cannabis seeds usually come in a pack of 10 or 12 seeds and start at around $40 a pack and go up from there. Some high-end genetics can run between $200 to $500 a pack.

Feminized and autoflower seeds will cost more because more breeding work was put in to creating them and they take less time for the grower to get buds.

How many seeds should I buy? Are they all going to survive?

When you grow any amount of seeds, a percentage of them won’t germinate, even if you get them from a reputable breeder. Always count on a few not germinating or dying off, or roughly 1/4 of the total you put in the ground.

When growing regular seeds, some won’t germinate and some will have to be discarded because they’ll turn out to be males. With feminized seeds, some won’t germinate, but a higher percentage of them will turn into flowering plants because there won’t be any males.

If you want six total cannabis plants to harvest for buds and are growing from regular seeds, start with about 4 times as many, or 24 seeds. Some won’t germinate and some will turn out to be males, and then you’ll want to discard down to the six best phenotypes. If growing feminized seeds, you can probably start with about twice as many seeds in this case (about 12); a couple won’t germinate, and then discard down to the six best phenotypes.

Make sure to always stay within your state’s legal limit of growing plants.

How do I buy strain-specific cannabis seeds?

Strains like Blue Dream, Gelato, and Original Glue have gained in popularity in recent years. Check out these resources on how to buy these types of cannabis seeds: