Invasive Watch: Sicklepod

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As an invasive species capable of dominating roadsides and other disturbed areas, sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia) poses issues for roadside vegetation managers throughout the United States. For today’s vegetation managers, knowing how to identify and control it effectively can enhance roadside safety and environmental sustainability.

Sicklepod is a fast-growing woody shrub that is notorious for its impact on crop yields throughout the country. This resilient invasive is also capable of thriving in disturbed areas, making it a major threat to roadside safety. As its size can impede visibility on the roads and its perseverance poses a threat to wipe out native plant communities, it is important for vegetation managers to know how to identify and control this problematic species effectively and selectively.


Sicklepod is a competitive perennial that can grow up to 3 feet wide and 8 feet tall. Its yellow 5-petaled flowers commonly grow to approximately 1 centimeter in width and the plant’s leaves are distinguished by a rounded end and wedge-shaped base. Leaves are commonly grouped into two or three opposing pairs, each approximately 4 centimeters long and 2 centimeters wide. Sickle-shaped seed pods represent the plant’s fruit, which measure up to 15 centimeters long and 3 to 5 millimeters wide. Once ripe, these downward-curving pods burst open to shed shiny, flattened dark-brown seeds. 


Sicklepod grows best in full sun and disturbed areas, allowing it to invade roadsides, fence lines and waste sites consisting of compact, dry or rocky soils. While infestations have been found in Indiana, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, this problematic shrub is found primarily in Florida, Mississippi and other Southeastern states.


Hand-pulling smaller sicklepod plants is an applicable solution for some vegetation managers. However, this process is time-consuming and can lead to regrowth if the entire taproot is not removed. Instead, applicators can treat sicklepod during its season of establishment by applying TerraVue® herbicide at a rate of 2.85 oz/acre after germination. In areas where perennial grasses are present, be sure to apply TerraVue after grasses have established a secondary root system and show good vigor.

Offering one of the industry’s most favorable environmental profiles, TerraVue can be used by vegetation managers to control more than 140 broadleaf weeds and brush species. The use of TerraVue is intended to protect public health and the environment, making it an ideal solution for vegetation managers working to enhance both roadside safety and the development of low-growing native plant communities throughout right-of-way corridors.

Learn more about effective roadside management products and practices by visiting



™ ® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. Under normal field conditions, TerraVue® is nonvolatile. TerraVue has no grazing or haying restrictions for any class of livestock, including lactating dairy cows, horses (including lactating mares) and meat animals prior to slaughter. Label precautions apply to forage treated with TerraVue and to manure and urine from animals that have consumed treated forage. TerraVue is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Consult the label for full details. Always read and follow label directions. © 2022 Corteva.


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