State weeds out information |

State weeds out information

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus

As spring progresses in the Lahontan Valley, one thing is for certain.

It’s the beginning of weed season.

Sean Gephart, an agriculturist with the Plant Industry Division of the Nevada Department of Agriculture, gave county commissioners a presentation on noxious weeds in Churchill County and an informational update at the commission’s first meeting of May on Thursday.

“One time they were pretty until they took things over,” Gephart said, referring to the different types of noxious weeds that overrun the state every year.

He said noxious weeds can be found in feed, seed or seed mixes. Based on Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 555.150, Gephart said the state shall control all weeds consider noxious and will assist counties to control the different types of weeds. He said the major noxious weeds in the central Nevada region are the Russian knapweed, the perennial pepperwood and the puncture vine.

“The Russian knapweed is a big problem in Lovelock and could be big in Churchill County if not addressed,” he said.

Gephart said the weed is a problem in the agricultural system and also toxic to horses. He said the perennial pepperwood is a problem because of the irrigation ditches in Churchill County.

“The roots penetrate the edge of ditch banks and can cause erosion,” he said.

Gephart said puncture vines are widespread throughout the state as are several other weeds. Once established, hoary cress easily displaces native vegetation, and according to Gephart, the weed is a problem in Eureka County and grows best in disturbed alkaline soils.

A major contributor to wildland fires is the yellow star thistle. Gephart said widespread density of this noxious weed exists, and it can grow hip high. A species of ventenata has been identified in Elko County, and Gephart said it can occupy wheat fields.

“We provide as much assistance to landowners to control these weeds,” Gephart said.

A resident asked Gephart at the meeting if the kochia weed is noxious. Since it can be used for forage, Gephart said it is not considered noxious. Kochia can grow upward to seven feet tall and take over both developed and undeveloped land this year.

The Churchill County Mosquito, Vector and Noxious Weed Abatement District also considers Russian thistle as a nuisance weed. According to numerous websites, Russian thistle is a large and bushy noxious annual broadleaf plant that occurs throughout the western states, more often in drier areas.

Kochia is an erect summer annual broadleaf plant that is difficult to differentiate from fivehook bassia, Bassia hyssopifolia. Kochia inhabits agricultural land and other disturbed areas. Although it can provide good livestock forage in modest amounts, its leaves contain saponins and small amounts of oxalates and nitrates, which can be toxic to livestock.

Gephart also pointed out cheat grass is not considered a weed.

Although the state and county can assist landowners, according to Nevada and local laws and regulations, property owners are still responsible for maintaining their land and ensuring weeds have been eliminated. In the past, though, the county has said ranchers and farmers take care of their property, but there is more concerned with residents who live on one-acre parcels just outside the city limits.

The University of Nevada’s Cooperative Extension lend expertise and education for eradicating weeds. Extension agents have previously recommended property owners cut down their weeds mechanically but not spray because the weeds dry out and become a fire hazard. The Lahontan Conservation District can provide herbicides that will eradicate noxious weeds such as puncturevine.

Every year beginning in June, Fire Marshal Mitch Young surveys parcels within the city and sends out letters to owners who need to eradicate weeds.

In other action, the commissioners recognized five students for receiving the 2019 Jim Regan Memorial scholarship. They are Taylor Ingram, Kaylynn Perez, Brooke Shyne, McKenna Montgomery and Angeleena Tomb.

Adopted proclamations recognizing Kent’s Supply and Frey Ranch Estate Distillery for major awards.

Received a report from the Churchill County Library.

Held a first hearing for ordinances dealing with roadways and rights of way.

Approved ratification of the Welfare Set-Aside Fiscal Year 2019 Funding Agreement Amendment between the state’s Housing Division and Churchill County Social Services representing an increase from $11,000 to $13,962.

Approved a collective bargaining agreement between the county and the Churchill County Sheriff’s Deputies Association for three years. The first year will represent a 3.75 percent pay increase (adjusted to 2.75 percent to offset the Public Employees Retirement System’s contributor increase), and the second and third years will show a 2.25 percent increase. Instructors will receive a once-a-year incentive, and clarification has been worked out with any change of assignments to the detention center.