Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Local Nurseries Support Elimination of Noxious Weeds

weed.pest@mesacounty.us

Although once planted for ornamental purposes, many non-native garden plants have been found to cause severe damage and have been classified as noxious weeds in the state of Colorado.

Now that spring yard work is getting underway, it's time for you to do your part and get rewarded for it.

Noxious weeds are illegal and damaging in many ways. They can poison humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife, even spreading to neighboring lands and can even spread forming monocultures and out-competing native vegetation.

They can be damaging to your home's foundation and ultimately lower your property's value.

While doing yard work, check your yard for any of these noxious weeds, and earn a gift card to a local nursery. The gift cards are to be used to replace the weeds with plants (once conditions are safe to do so, and the state-at-home order has been lifted).

Here is a list of the participating species with Colorado government resource hyperlinks that show pictures of the plant and have additional information.

Myrtle Spurge 

Myrtle Spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites)

  • A popular plant in rock gardens in the Grand Valley
  • Low-growing perennial plant
  • Thick blue-green leaves (somewhat resembling a succulent), and unique yellow-green flowers that can turn reddish when spherical seed pods form
  • All parts of the plant contain a white latex sap that can cause mild to severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation
  • Seed pods explode, launching seeds into neighboring properties


Giant knotweed 

Japanese, Giant & Bohemian Knotweeds
 (Fallopia Japonica, F. Sachalinensis, F.x Bohemica )

  • A perennial plant with large heart-shaped leaves and bamboo-like stalks
  • Can grow 5 to 16 feet tall and spreads their root system underground
  • Clusters of tiny white flowers present in late summer
  • Often planted for erosion control or privacy screening, these plants can aggressively spread, clog small waterways and outcompete other desirable species
  • This plant has been known to damage building foundations and impact/lower property values


Cypress Spurge

Cypress Spurge
 (Euphorbia Cyparissias)

  • A popular plant in rock gardens in the Grand Valley
  • A low-growing perennial
  • Thin, bright green, needle-like leaves with unique yellow-green flowers that can turn reddish when spherical seed pods form
  • All parts of the plant contain a white latex sap that can cause mild to severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation
  • Can be dug or controlled with herbicide (click here for herbicide information)

Dame's Rocket

Dame's Rocket (Hesperis Matronalis)

  • Popular in wildflower packets, this plant is threatening to spread into U.S. Forest Service land and Vega Lake State Park from private property
  • Found in many local flower beds; A look-a-like to non-invasive native and cultivated ornamentals
  • Can outcompete native grasses and flowers, and decrease diversity for wildlife forage
  • A perennial plant that can grow 3 feet tall each season
  • Flowers can be purple, pink to white
  • Dig up in early season (click here for herbicide information)

Reed Grass

Giant Reed Grass
 (Arundo Donax)

  • A bamboo-like perennial grass
  • Can grow 20 feet tall or more
  • Spreads mainly through its vast root system
  • An aggressive, non-native species that has overtaken many acres of wetland/riparian corridors throughout the Southwestern and can reduce wildlife habitat, increase fire risk and interfere with flood control while suppressing native plant growth
  • Can be chopped down then treated with herbicide (If you need help with herbicide application, please contact us directly)

If you think you have found one of these species and want it identified, please send photos of the plant to weed.pest@mesacounty.us.

If you have one of these plants and would like to receive a gift card, please email photos of the area with the weed present, and a photo after the plant has been removed.

Use weed.pest@mesacounty.us to send before and after images.

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