Mark Renz, UW-Extension Weed Scientist
Department of Agronomy
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
3:05 – Total Time
0:14 – The Guide
0:39 – Most common toxic plant
1:07 – When to look out for toxic plants
1:32 – What makes this guide different
2:16 – Where to go for more information
2:53 – Lead out
Lauren Baker: A new guide to toxic plants. We are visiting today with Mark Renz, Extension Weed Specialist, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Extension intern Lauren Baker. Mark, can you tell us a little bit more about what this new guide is?
Mark Renz: For a long time we always get questions about toxic plants, the level of toxicity, and what animals they are toxic to. And we’ve kind of had lists and kind of worked around some of those issues, but we decided we really needed to come up with a guide that has really good color pictures and good detailed information on the most common toxic plants in Midwestern pastures, as well as forage crops and so that’s kind of what we’ve done here.
Lauren Baker: What is the most common toxic plant?
Mark Renz: One of the ones that we’ve been having problems with this spring in lots of reports is on some of the ranunculus species, the buttercups, those can be problems particularly in our pastures, but we’re seeing them in some of our forages too. And that one fits a really unique stage or issue, because those plants do have some toxicity, but some of the animals can tolerate quite a bit of them too and so knowing that information can help guide what level of management is required in the field.
Lauren Baker: Is there a certain time of the year that these plants are more prevalent?
Mark Renz: There are species that are toxic that are present in the spring, different species in the summer, and different in the fall. Some species actually aren’t toxic until we get a frost in the end of the season too. So, the environment can play a huge role in this and in some cases it’s not seasonal, but it’s environmental, such as drought conditions; we can have a lot more nitrate poisoning and toxicity issues.
Lauren Baker: Mark, how is this different than any other guides from Extension or other resources
Mark Renz: Well, one of the things that we wanted to do is we wanted to combine two different things; we wanted to have really good, close up pictures to help with identification of these species, but then also we wanted to provide detailed information on what the toxin is, what species, what animal species it’s toxic to, where we see this plant, and then most importantly what parts of the plant are toxic and how long that toxin persists and if there’s something you can do. We also do provide some idea of what the symptoms of that toxicity would be displayed. I think we’ve taken this to the next level, as far as resources available to help the clientele with toxic plant issues.
Lauren Baker: And if people are interested where can they go for more information?
Mark Renz: Well I think that this toxic guide is probably the best source. You can go to The Learning Store at University of Wisconsin-Extension and you can download a pdf of this guide for free or if you’re interested you can purchase one. It has lots of really good resources in this guide itself we actually show other resources, like websites where you can get online and look at some of these other images and get more detailed information. It’s a complex issue and so we really encourage landowners and animal owners to really inform themselves on what that is before making a decision or an action.
Lauren Baker: We’ve been visiting today with Mark Renz, Extension Weed Specialist, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Extension intern Lauren Baker.