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Pest Profile: Kochia

Kochia is a large weed that emerges early in the season, grows quickly, and can tolerate drought, heat and salinity. It can easily take over areas where crops struggle to compete. Mature plants break and tumble with the wind, spreading their seeds over a wide area. Each plant produces at least 15,000 seeds, and kochia in dense patches with low competition can produce millions of seeds per square metre.


The earliest emerging leaves of the kochia seedling develop in the springtime and are elongated, slightly club shaped and covered in soft hairs. When mature, the reddish stem is covered with fine white hairs with many branches growing out resulting in large conical-shaped bushes. Clusters of small green flowers appear along the branches and turn brownish-yellow when they begin to seed. The seeds have yellow markings and have grooves on each side.


  • Because kochia germinates early, pre-seed burnoff can be an effective management strategy. 
  • Use an effective mix of active ingredients that work on the kochia present in the field. 
  • Spraying kochia at 4 inches (10cm) or less will offer the best opportunity for control.
  • Scout after spraying. If kochia plants survived pre-seed burnoff and the first spray, a second herbicide application may help if weeds are still at the appropriate stage. 
  • If second application is not effective or if kochia plants are too large, physical removal may be required. Options include mowing or hand weeding.
  • Test for herbicide resistance.


Please read each label to determine which herbicide is appropriate for the crop affected.


References and Additional Reading

“How to Contain Herbicide Resistant Kochia”” Canola Council of Canada. Online.

“Watch for Suspicious Weed Patches(Kochia Angle)”” Canola Council of Canada. Online

“Kochia” Government of Ontario. Online,Taproot%20with%20branched%20fibrous%20roots