Invasive species threaten to take over properties | NevadaAppeal.com

Invasive species threaten to take over properties

JoAnne Skelly
For the Nevada Appeal
courtesy Puncturevines look innocent enough until thorny seed pods develop and the low-lying plant earns its name.
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The biological world has terrorists too. These invaders attack in the form of plants aquatic species, animals, insects and microbes. They drive out the native species, impact water quality and reduce land value.

They are characteristically adaptable, aggressive, and have a high reproductive capacity. Their vigor combined with a lack of natural enemies often leads to outbreak populations. Invasive Species Awareness Week is April 12-18.

We as gardeners feel that we have a responsibility to sustain a healthy environment. We strive to use water wisely, build healthy soil, recycle, reuse and reduce. Another important factor for us as caretakers is to stop, or at the very least, slow the spread of invasive species – in our case – WEEDS! Through the years I have written about various noxious weeds, including tall whitetop, knapweeds, Canada thistle, yellow starthistle, hoary cress and puncturevine. Noxious weeds are invaders that have been declared noxious in the Nevada Revised Statutes.

Why do we bother with these weeds? They are harmful to agriculture, the general public or the environment. They overtake native plants creating monocultures without value, eliminating food sources for wildlife. They can increase erosion, flood potential and reduce water quality. They persist for years and usually the only control is chemical. Recreational potential is reduced and fire danger is increased.

If you have ever tried to remove tall whitetop or Russian knapweed from your property, you know it is a multiyear battle that never ends. It requires herbicide application year after year. Noxious weeds are awful in our landscapes and yards.

It is critical to detect these problematic invaders early and respond rapidly before they have a chance to establish. This will save time and money over the long term by eliminating a weed when it first appears as a single plant or small patch, rather than waiting until it covers an entire property. Proper identification is essential to implementing the control tactics that will successfully manage the weed.

If you would like to learn more about weed identification and control, there are spaces available in the next Weed Warriors training 8 a.m.-noon April 27 and 28, at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, 2621 Northgate Lane, Carson City. Pre-registration is required by April 16. The fee is $30. For a registration form, call JoAnne Skelly at 887-2252 or e-mail skellyj@unce.unr.edu.

• JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at 887-2252. or

skellyj@unce.unr.edu.