Let’s tackle the Summit County weed epidemic | SummitDaily.com

Let’s tackle the Summit County weed epidemic

by Gail Shears

While the forest devastation caused by the pine beetle is painfully obvious to the visitors and locals of Summit County, we have another attack underway that is manageable with the effort and consideration of everyone who cares about our beautiful county. Noxious weeds are non-native plants that have invaded our county, take nutrients and water from our native vegetation, and are not edible by wildlife.

The amount of chamomile daisies blooming in the county is almost out of control. This is an invasive species that thrives on disturbed soil and takes away from our natural wildflowers and vegetation. A big bunch can have as many as one million seeds! These seeds can remain viable on the ground for up to 20 years. Chamomile is an annual, so it reproduces almost solely by seed. It is never too late to either pull or clip off the seed heads and bag them. The other method is to either pull before they bloom or mow them to keep them from developing a seed head.

Many people do their part, and the Summit County weed pull in July made a huge difference, but if we all don’t do our part it is hard to be successful. With the removal of dead trees for pine beetle mitigation, further soils will be disturbed, providing a further opportunity for the infestation and spread of this noxious weed. Now is the optimum time to remove as many plants as possible from your yards, businesses and roadside areas. We are all here because of the beauty of our surroundings – please help preserve and make a difference.

Additional noxious weeds include the yellow toadflax (looks like the snapdragon), oxeye daisies, and invasive green stemmed thistle (needs to be sprayed as disturbing the roots will cause further growth.)

Further questions can be addressed to Lisa Taylor, Summit County Weed Coordinator, (970) 668-4218; Jessi Miller, Forest Service Noxious Weed Technician at (970) 262-3499; Jess Evett at the Dillon Ranger District Headquarters, or resident noxious weed volunteer John Taylor at (970) 262-5940.

Gail Shears is a volunteer with Friends of the Dillon Ranger District

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