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Dogfennel, a warm season perennial with the distinct scent of fennel, can be found growing throughout Stokes County. While dogfennel has historically been useful as an insect repellent, it unfortunately has no place in pastures or hayfields.
Dogfennel is characterized by its hairy stem and fine, hairless leaves. It begins growing from dormant rosettes and seeds during the late spring and early summer, when soil temperatures reach 65 degrees. Height can vary, with some plants being as small as six inches, but it has the capability to grow over six feet tall. Despite its tender stem when young, it becomes woody and tough as it matures, making it particularly unpalatable to livestock and undesirable in hay crops.
Dogfennel control can be achieved several ways. Herbicides have shown to be effective on dogfennel, although rates can vary depending on plant height. It is typically recommended to apply herbicide before plants reach 20″ tall, with options including Weedmaster (2,4-D and dicamba), 2,4-D amine, and a mixture of Duracor and Pasturegard HL. When plants exceed 20″, the Duracor + Pasturegard HL mixture is still effective. Other options as dogfennel grows include a mixture of GrazonNext HL with either Pasturegard HL, 2,4-D amine, or 2,4-D and dicamba. Herbicides should not be applied during drought conditions, as they will be substantially less effective. It is imperative that herbicides are always mixed according to label instructions to prevent injury. The label is the law for all herbicides. Mowing regularly reduces regrowth, and encourages growth of desirable forages below dogfennel’s canopy.
Whatever your method may be, it is always best to dodge dogfennel in pastures and hayfields when possible.