There has been an uptick in reports of the broomrape weed in California. Retired Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor Gene Miyao reminded growers at the 2019 Northern San Joaquin Valley Processing Tomato meeting that Broomrape is nothing new to California. “Branched broomrape had been historically in California dating back to the 1960s at least,” Miyao said.
Broomrape is a parasitic weed, so the most significant concern isn’t that it will compete with plants for nutrients and water, it’s that it sucks the life directly out of plants. The weed also has a broad host range including potato, cabbage, bell pepper, sunflower, celery, and beans however it especially likes tomatoes and eggplant.
There has been a resurgence of the parasitic weed over the last decade, headlined by the Egyptian broomrape variety being found in North America for the first time in the San Joaquin Valley. “In 2014 and 2016 in two adjacent fields the Egyptian broomrape surfaced and was reported,” Miyao said. “But in the last decade, there has been a number of the branched broomrape (reports) in the lower Sacramento Valley, upper San Joaquin Valley, as well as this one on the coast.”
Miyao added that the weed’s characteristics make it hard to manage and easy to spread. Stay with AgNet West for more information about the pest.
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