Kings Canyon weed pull this weekend |

Kings Canyon weed pull this weekend

Robyn Moormeister

Toxic weeds are bearing their sharp needles and sprouting throughout burned areas of Kings Canyon, and environmental educators need help killing them off.

Since the Waterfall fire, sharp, needle-lined Russian knapweed has been popping up throughout the 20 burned acres in the canyon.

Educators with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension organized a volunteer weed-pull for Saturday to help to clear away the noxious weed.

Twenty people have signed up so far, but more volunteers are welcome.

“Russian knapweed is not our friend,” said JoAnne Skelly, Carson City Cooperative Extension educator. “We really have to get right on this, or we may lose entire areas.”

Known for its insidious nature, it spreads with both its roots and seeds. Skelly said it has no redeeming qualities.

It quickly dominates the landscape, crowding out all beneficial vegetation.

It fosters erosion, because its roots loosen normally tightly knit soil. The roots often extend 8 feet.

The knapweed is also toxic to horses. If consumed, it can cause a fatal, irreversible “chewing disease,” which destroys a horse’s ability to take in and chew food.

It has not been proven to be toxic to humans.

Sue Donaldson, a weed expert for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, said the weed cannot be completely eradicated simply by pulling its roots.

“It’s a hearty perennial,” she said. “It leaves behind little root extensions, which can grow into plants. It’s really difficult to control.”

Skelly said Saturday’s weed pull is just the first step in reclaiming the area.

Volunteers will pull and cut the dead, brown tops off the weeds to reveal the green, healthy parts, which will later be sprayed with herbicide.

Skelly said researchers are still determining the proper herbicide for the job site.

“We have to use the herbicide on green plants, rather than just pull them,” Skelly said. “The plants will absorb the herbicide and take it down to kill the roots.”

Later this fall, she said, the area will be seeded with more desirable vegetation, such as grasses and legumes.

Volunteers can gather Saturday, 9 a.m. off of Kings Canyon Road near the Bayer Springs Ranch sign.

For information or to volunteer, call Skelly at 887-2252.

Contact Robyn Moormeister at or 881-1217.


Volunteers helping to eradicate Russian knapweed should come prepared.

Wear: Gloves, long sleeves, long pants and a hat.

Bring: Water, sunscreen, pruning shears and a rake.

Directions to the volunteer meeting spot:

• Turn west off of Carson Street onto Musser Street.

• Turn south on Division Street

• Turn west on King Street, which turns into Kings Canyon Road.

• Go past the subdivisions to the long dirt driveway and turn right just past the meadow.

• The dirt road leading to the parking area is just before the Bayer Springs Ranch sign.

Signs will be posted to guide volunteers to the site.

University of Nevada Cooperative extension educators will give volunteers a brief lesson on controlling noxious weeds.