Weedwise: Noxious weeds can threaten wildlife, livestock

phweedswisecolumnWhat makes a weed noxious? Invasive, non-native, competitive, prolific, are terms used to describe weeds. When certain species threaten wildlife and the health of native ecosystems, poison livestock, cause economic hardship on agricultural production or pose a threat to human health, they are termed noxious and laws have been enacted that mandate control of these species.
In Colorado, there are three classes of noxious weeds. The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is the regulatory agency that determines which species are noxious and outlines specie specific management objectives. A list of species includes new invaders and those that pose the greatest environmental and economic threat. Eradication is the only management objectives for A-list candidates. B-list species are managed for suppression, with the goal of reducing the size of the infestation and preventing spread. Management objectives for C-list species are containment. The Noxious Weed Advisory Committee determines which species are listed as noxious, which category they are placed, and outline specific management activities that should be followed. Phyllis Lake, a local resident, is a member of this committee. Meeker hosted the fall committee meeting in September, which toured the Piceance Creek Basin and the Upper Colorado Environmental Plant Center.
The weed of the month:
Houndstongue Cynoglossum Officinale
• B List, member of the Borage family
• Biennial: Forms a rosette the first year, bolts, flowers and seeds in year two, 1-3 feet.
• Key to control: Remove rosettes, don’t let seed.
• n Be vigilant in treating wildlife/livestock grazing management areas.
• Mature plants produce nutlets that readily attach to clothing and fur, promoting spread.
• Seeds inspired the creation of Velcro.
• Leaves are oblong to lance-shaped and alternate, up to 12 inches in length, three inches wide, rough in texture, smooth margins, lacking hairs.
• Edibility: Contains allantoin useful for skin and intestinal ulcerations; tea considered useful for sore throat relief in humans. Considered toxic to livestock. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids will cause liver damage in animals. Sheep are more resistant to poisoning than cattle and horses. Check with physician before using as an herbal remedy.
For the state list of noxious weeds, fact sheets and management tools: www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Agriculture…/1174084048733 and www.cwma.org
Plan ahead, renew your Colorado Applicator License. Credits are available by attending the following two events:
• Annual CWMA Conference Dec. 8-9 in Grand Junction. For more information and to register: www.cwma.org, or call (303) 996-0181.
• The 2010 Pesticide Applicators Training Workshop will be held Feb. 16-18 at Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction: http://wci.colostate.edu/, (970) 244-1834
Other events:
Weed Science Society of America and Society for Range Management International Conference in Denver Feb. 7-10, 2010: http://www.rangelands.org/denver2010/index.shtml. Contact the Rio Blanco Weed Control Office for more information, 878-9670.
Postmus is the Rio Blanco County weed control supervisor.