It’s a wild, weedy world out there, but some scientists are hoping to impose a little order on the seasonal chaos of weed infestations across the country. That’s the goal of a new, nationwide weed mapping project – a multi-institution collaboration called the Distribution of Troublesome U.S. Agricultural Weeds Pilot Project. These scientists are game to do the hard work of crafting and maintaining ever-changing distribution maps, but they need your help!

Scientists need the ag industry’s help tracking the growing distribution of troublesome and common weeds. (Photo credit: Claudio Rubione, GROW)

Tracking Troublesome Weeds

The goals of this project are two-fold, the organizers explained in a news release. First, they want to improve awareness in the industry of the locations and spread of common and troublesome weed species in the U.S., via improved distribution maps. But they also want to find, support and harness the power of ongoing efforts by Extension scientists, educators and growers to track the spread of weeds in their own regions.
“While there are some existing sources of weed distribution information, we believe that the most current information on the local distribution of weeds is held by crop consultants and agronomists and the growers they work with, and this information is relatively inaccessible,” the organizers explained.
The mapping project will use the existing database and mapping platform known as EDDMaps, run by the Southern IPM Center and Bugwood. The group is starting small, asking initially for cooperators to provide information on the distribution of the following weed species:

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About the Author: Emily Unglesbee

Emily Unglesbee is the Director of Outreach and Extension for GROW (Getting Rid of Weeds). She grew up in south-central Pennsylvania and earned a degree in Classics from the University of Notre Dame in 2009. After two years working on farms and ranches in the U.S. and U.K., she earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 2013. She spent 10 years as a reporter for DTN/The Progressive Farmer, before joining GROW (Get Rid of Weeds) in 2022 to lead its communications and outreach team. GROW is a publicaly led network of scientists working to help farmers and the agricultural industry test and adopt non-chemical alternatives to weed control, to help slow and overcome the industry-wide problem of herbicide-resistant weeds.

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