Montana State University

MSU Extension offering courses on weed identification and pesticide application

January 18, 2013 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN - Montana State University Extension and the Schutter Diagnostic Lab are offering new online courses covering plant anatomy and the diagnostic features of 32 state-listed noxious weeds.

The free courses are offered to assist early detection of noxious weeds in Montana and provide pesticide applicator credits.

The three-course series has been designed to assist with early detection and rapid response (EDRR) across Montana. The goal of EDRR is to recognize high priority plants and take action to manage them while populations are still small.

Often small plant populations can be eradicated or controlled with much less expense compared to large, well-established populations. A key aspect of EDRR is a well-educated citizenry that can recognize and accurately identify high priority weeds in the field.

The first course covers plant anatomy terms critical to plant identification.

The second course identifies diagnostic features of the highest priority noxious weeds for statewide EDRR. Weeds like flowering rush, rush skeletonweed, and Japanese knotweed are included. Many people have potentially never seen these weeds before since they are not widely established in Montana.

The third course covers diagnostic features of noxious weeds common in many areas of the state, including weeds like spotted knapweed, common tansy, and sulfur cinquefoil. Each course ends with a challenging quiz of the material presented.

The free online courses, which can take one to two hours per course to complete, are available to anyone interested in learning more about noxious weed identification. Private, commercial and governmental pesticide applicators can receive re-certification credits for completing the courses.

To access the courses, go to If you are interested in learning more about the courses or have questions, please contact Hilary Parkinson, plant diagnostician for the MSU Schutter Diagnostic Lab, (406) 994-1871 or; or Jane Mangold, MSU Extension Invasive Plant Specialist, (406) 994-5513 or