Weed control, noxious or not | NevadaAppeal.com

Weed control, noxious or not

Joanne Skelly

For more than 14 years, I have spent much of my time working on weed issues, researching information on control strategies for agency folks, running the Carson City Weed Coalition, and teaching homeowners how to deal with these pesky plants.

There is often confusion about noxious weeds. Many homeowners may think that tumbleweeds, goatheads or even dandelions are noxious, because they are a pain to clean up, can puncture tires, or mess up a lawn. However, “noxious” is not merely a descriptive term; “noxious” is actually a legal term.

Some weed species are so detrimental to our environment and economy that they have been placed on a special list in the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 555) and are designated “noxious” weeds. There are three categories of noxious weeds, A, B and C.

• Category A weeds are plants we are on the lookout for. They are problems in other states, but haven’t occurred here yet in any number. They are actively eradicated when found, and incoming nursery stock is closely inspected to make sure they aren’t present. Yellow starthistle and spotted knapweed fall into this category.

• Category B weeds are those on which we spend the most time . They are already in the state, in scattered populations. Control measures are aggressive to prevent their spread. The most common Category B plants that we see are musk and Scotch thistles, and diffuse and Russian knapweeds.

• Category C weeds are already established and widespread in Nevada. The worst offenders are tall whitetop, Canada thistle, poison and water hemlock, hoary cress and puncture vine.

Many other weeds are on the noxious list, which you can view on the Department of Agriculture’s Web page: http://agri.nv.gov/ nwac/PLANT_NoxWeedList.htm.

To learn how to identify these plants, go to University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Web page, http://www.unce.unr.edu/pubs.html, and look under natural resources.

Weeds such as tumbleweed and dandelion are minor pests compared to the competitive, invasive species above. You definitely want to avoid getting noxious weeds on your property.

In addition to the havoc they can wreak on your landscape and property, if an infestation gets away from you, the state can put a lien on the property to cover control costs.

Do your part to prevent the spread of noxious weeds. Drive only on established roads and trails. Check tires, shoes, clothes and animals’ coats, paws and hooves for seeds before you leave areas that might have weeds. If you find a few weeds without flowers or seeds, pull them and leave them where you found them. If flowers or seeds are present, place the weeds in a trash bag and properly dispose of them.

If you need help with identification, contact me, 887-2252 or skellyj@unce.unr.edu. Spread the word, not the weeds!

For more information, e-mail skellyj@unce.unr.edu or call me at 887-2252. You can “Ask a Master Gardener” by e-mailing mastergardeners@unce.unr.edu or call your local University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office. Check out many useful horticulture publications at http://www.unce.unr.edu.

• JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.