Letter to the Editor: Let’s commit to attacking noxious and invasive weeds

John Taylor

Thank you, Summit County Weed Manager Ryan Cook, for bringing back the “Weed of the Week.”

Summit County has 32 invasive weed species. These plants came here from Europe or Asia accidentally or as escaped ornamentals. It’s a safe place for them in our county as their natural predators did not come along. They have spread at alarming rates and have moved into our ecosystem, displacing our native flora that our wildlife relies on.

If you don’t already know Musk thistle, I ask you to learn about it and do your part to help get rid of it. You may see it on a hike, in your yard, along a lake or stream! We can each take an opportunity to help, and together we can make a difference.

Musk Thistle is a biennial and can produce in the second year up to 120,000 seeds. Do the math, and you are likely to share my concern. Doing nothing means we will have fields, yards, open spaces and forests full of invasive weeds which will have killed off our native vegetation.

What to do:

Musk starts in the shape of a rosette and here you can kick-it-out! If we all kick them out/scrape them off that will help eliminate bolting to a seed-bearing flower. The flowers/seed heads can be cut and bagged carefully so not to spread the seeds. Also, cut the plant at the base.

Play detective. Usually the little rosettes are near the last year’s dead flower stalks. So, the stalks you see from last year released seeds before the flower dried up. If we can eliminate all rosettes early on that would be a big help.

Read the Weed of Week, call Ryan and reach out the Colorado Weed Management folks at Know how to identify weeds and what to do to reduce them to protect our beautiful county.

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