Community Agriculture Alliance: Manage your wiley weeds

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Do you have wiley weeds? Chances are you might. These are the weeds you spray one year, and then you think that they're gone, but they show back up next year. Or worse, they don't show up in the spot that you did spray but in a different spot! These weeds could be considered noxious weeds and Routt County has its share of them.

There are some weeds Routt County Weed Managers know they are never going to get totally under control, such as White Top and Canadian Thistle. But there are others they are trying to eradicate so they don't become a problem species.

As private landowners, you need to do your part to control these noxious weeds, and help is on the way. You can be educated and become a weed warrior.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is hosting the second annual Invasive Species Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Sign-up is under way and will end March 30.

The following weed species qualify in the program for all private landowners who live in Routt County and meet program requirement eligibility:

- Meadow Knapweed

- Diffuse Knapweed

- Oxeye Daisy

- Spotted Knapweed

- Salt Cedar

- Yellow Toadflax

- Black Henbane

- Absinth Wormwood

- Plumeless Thistle

- Dalmation Toadflax

- Houndstongue

- Leafy Spurge

- Scotch Thistle

- Perennial Pepperweed

This program is designed to assist private landowners in controlling these noxious weeds by providing them with a financial incentive. If you practice weed control on your property, the NRCS wants to reward you. There are many types of weed control, and spraying with chemicals is the most prevalent and sometimes the most effective, but it's not the only way.

The use of beneficial insects is becoming increasingly popular especially with Leafy Spurge and Salt Cedar. The amazing little bugs will not completely eradicate any weed stand, but they do decrease the patch size significantly and help keep the weed from spreading. Sometimes these bugs can be provided free of charge.

Another popular way of controlling weeds is with grazing. Sheep and goats are the best grazers of noxious weeds. Once these animals are trained to eat a species, they can have a demolishing affect on noxious weeds. They can eradicate a weed patch in a year under the right precipitation and climatic conditions. These critters are best used in hard-to-reach places or sensitive places such as river banks, steep slopes or dense forests.

Grazers are nature's best weapon in the battle of weed control. There are certain precautions that need to be considered when using animals for weed control. More management is needed because you want to make sure that they don't overgraze an area. Sheep can also be great transporters of weed seed as well. Those seeds can get caught in the wool and dropped off in non-affected areas. Management is the key to successful weed control when using grazing.

If you are a private land owner in Routt County and know that you have a weed species listed above, please contact the Routt County Natural Resources Conservation Service and get signed up for the program.

The office is at 1245 Pine Grove Rd, Suite 201A, Steamboat Springs, CO. Call the office at 879-3225, ext. 3, and ask to speak with Lori, Dennis or Vance to find out more information about the program. It's a great way to help you get a handle on your weeds and your responsibility as a private landowner in Routt County. Do the right thing, control your weeds.

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