Noxious Weeds

Noxious weeds, what are they and what is the best way to treat them?

The state of Wyoming and Teton County both have a list of noxious weeds that are not just suggested, but mandated to be eliminated. This can be enforced with fines or by the county controlling them and billing you for it. This list consists of undesirable plants that were introduced to Wyoming and often introduced to this country. They are plants that have been determined to cause harm in some way, either to native species, livestock, people, etc. Luckily, there are many ways to control these weeds.

Although chemical control is often the first suggested way, manual control can be just as effective at times. One thing that is certain is that proper control and proper timing is very important. Any company doing any sort of noxious weed control needs to be able to identify the weeds targeted and be certain they are not killing off native species which would allow space for more noxious weeds. They must understand the life cycle of those weeds as well.

For example, spraying a fully flowering musk thistle only kills a plant that will already die, as its life is already over. That goes for any biennial. When you spray it, it still has enough energy stored within its cells to send all of those flowers to fully developed seeds. On the other hand, rather than spraying it, if you cut it into small enough chunks, those chunks will wilt and die before the seeds develop. If someone is going to spray it, they would need to spray that plant when it is young and before all the seeds develop or in its first year of its two year life cycle.

Another example is common Mullen. It is also a biennial that by a certain size is easier to just cut the flower head off rather than spray. Plants that spread by rhizomes, such as Canadian thistle, when sprayed early in the season, just lose their tops and the rhizomes continue growing, therefore wasting time, chemical and money.

That is why at Boreal, we spend the time to train our employees. We tackle the noxious weeds on each property 5 months a year, not just a single treatment. Even on a tight budget, this is usually the most effective way to treat a property.

There are about 30 species of noxious weeds on the state list and another 35 or so on the county list. This being said, make sure that you are using educated people to treat your noxious weeds. We would love to help systematically, control your noxious weeds in a cost effective, environmentally sensitive way with the best results possible.

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