Mark Renz, Extension Weed Scientist
This year we had 8 entries into the biggest weed contest. We aren’t sure why fewer entries were submitted, maybe northern Wisconsin has fewer big weeds? While the earlier date of FTD clearly affected weed size, we received two samples over 13 feet tall. Submissions included the usual suspects of burdock, giant ragweed, and plumeless thistle, but we also had two vines entered (hedge bindweed and wild cucumber). Unfortunately since the winner is calculated by multiplying the height times the width none of these came close to the top submissions. The FTD winner this year was a massive Japanese knotweed plant, submitted by DeWayne Benedict from River Falls, Wisconsin. This plant was 15 ft tall and 6 ft wide. Giant ragweed samples submitted by Aubrey Behling (Wednesday’s winner) and Bryce Luchterhand (Thursday’s winner) were a third of the size of this champion knotweed. Interestingly all samples were next to barns indicating these protected areas are great places to look for big weeds. We will again be doing the event next year, so start your fertilization program early if you want to compete in the biggest weed contest next year in Portage County.