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Conservation Education

 

“In the end we will conserve only what we love.

We will love only what we understand.

We will understand only what we are taught.”

Lao-Tsu

 


 

Noxious and Invasive Weed Management

We are lucky in Weld County to have an excellent Weed Department and website with information.  We are happy to help assist you with identifying potential harmful weed species on your property.  The links below are excellent references:

Weld County Weed Division

Colorado Department of Agriculture Noxious Weeds

CSU Small Acreage Weed Identification

Colorado Weed Management Association


Cost Share Assistance

We cooperate on a cost-share program designed to help defray the cost of controlling/ eradicating noxious weeds for cooperators in our district.  This is managed through Weld County Weed Division.

Cost share is: 50/50 split in cost-sharing on any designated noxious weeds on land within the WGCD taxing area. Maximum reimbursable from the County is $600. Decreasing amounts over three years.

How it works: “The Weld County Weed Landowner Specialist will visit your property to identify the noxious weeds present, develop an integrated management plan with you, as well as sign you up for the appropriate cost-share program.

Cost-share money can only be used in range and pasture settings and in fallow farm ground. One cost-share program per landowner.

All cost-share programs cover the cost of chemical and commercial application if hired out. The commercial application must be done by a CO Dept. of Agriculture Commercial Operator licensed applicator. Unless the grant specifies otherwise.”

For more information on this cost share program, contact Weld County Weed Division 970-304-6496 ext. 3770

Weld County Weed Division


Weed Identification

  • Identifying list A
  • Watch a Walking Weed Tour at Frank State Wildlife Area (2010). Brought to you by the Weld County Weed Division & West Greeley Conservation District.

Looking for information on Industrial Hemp in Weld County?      Contact Amy Lentz, Weld County Extension Agent for Horticulture/Agriculture 970-400-2075


 

 

 

Facts About Dalmatian Toadflax

Dalmatian toadflax was introduced as an ornamental in the late 1800’s. By the 1920’s it had escaped and become a weed. Economic data specific to Dalmatian toadflax are scarce, but direct management costs averaged $40 per acre in 1992 on a Montana ranch of which 30% of the 1,064 acres was severely infested with Dalmatian toadflax. Reduction in cattle-carrying capacity and reduction in the appraised value of infested ranch land increases the economic impact.

Loss of forage can impact big game species, especially on winter ranges. Although deer have been observed to browse Dalmatian toadflax and seed is used by some species of birds and rodents, it is not known to be heavily used by any native species. All toadflax species can provide cover for smaller animals. Where sod-forming or bunch grass communities are replaced by toadflax, soil erosion and surface runoff will be increased. Dalmatian toadflax easily invades healthy stands of native grasses, both sod and bunch grasses.

Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria genistifolia ssp. dalmatica) is a non-native deep-rooted perennial that spreads by seeds and aggressive, creeping, horizontal roots (rhizomes). Dalmatian toadflax can grow 3 to 4 feet in height. The leaves are heart shaped to lanceolate with the base clasping around the stem. Both leaves and stems are waxy with a whitish or bluish cast. Flowers grow at the bases of the upper leaves. The flowers are snapdragon-like in appearance. They are yellow, with an orange throat and a straight to slightly curved spur.

Dalmatian toadflax emerges as early as mid-March and typically begins flowering in late May.  A mature Dalmatian toadflax plant may produce up to 500,000 seeds per year. These seeds may lay dormant in the soil for up to 10 years. Nine weeks after emergence Dalmatian toadflax roots may grow 20 inches deep or more and have vegetative buds that produce new shoots. The roots of Dalmatian toadflax can go 4 to 10 feet into the soil column with lateral roots extending up to 10 feet from the parent plant.

The key to controlling Dalmatian toadflax is to eliminate seed production and reduce the plant’s nutrient reserves in its root system through persistent, long-term management.

Maintain healthy pastures and rangeland with proper grazing and haying techniques. Continually monitor your property for new infestations and address immediately if plants are detected.

For more information visit www.weldweeds.org or call 970-400-3770.




Toxic Weeds and Horses

Horses are a part of the Colorado landscape. As critical to most of us as water, air and food. That is why it is so important to keep them safe. This includes knowing what they are eating. Dried, toxic plants can still be problematic in your hay this winter. The following plants are some of the more toxic plants in Colorado’s pastures and hay.

Leafy spurge, field bindweed, yellow sweet clover and alsike clover can increase skin sensitivity to light, burns or cause colic. Horses will generally eat other vegetation than these plants if available. However, these plants are very aggressive and tend to overtake a pasture or hay field.

Gum weed, penstemon, prince’s plume, saltbush, woody aster and some milkvetch species are selenium accumulators. When a horse consumes these plants, the selenium replaces the sulfur that is needed in keratin formation. Keratin is the primary protein in the hoof and hair. Extended ingestion can cause permanent damage and may cripple the horse for life.

Senecio and houndstongue symptoms are similar. These include diarrhea, red urine, sensitivity to light, circling, and weight loss.  There is no treatment for the liver disease. Russian knapweed and yellow starthistle symptoms include frozen facial muscles, excessive salivation, severe weight loss, inability to chew or drink, drooping look to the face and lips. There is no treatment for these poisonings and euthanasia is recommended.

There are three species of locoweed: purple, white and wooly. The poisoning symptoms from these species include abortions, weight loss, depression, excessive sleeping, violent reactions to routine items. There is no treatment for locoweed.

Sand and fringed sage have very similar poisoning indicators to the locoweeds with the addition of a sage smell to the breath and feces. Remove horses from the sage plants and feed a nutritious diet. The horses should be able to recover if given proper support as needed.

It is imperative to manage pastures and hay fields for good grass growth and competition against these dangerous plants. This may mean that the horses will need to be removed from the pasture for it to rest and recover if they are grazing. It may also be necessary to reseed the pasture or hay ground to re-establish good grass growth. You may also need to implement a noxious weed management plan to evaluate the best options for addressing the weeds in your pasture or hay field.

The first step is to identify the plants in your pasture. Once this step is completed, it is possible to make the choices that are needed to enhance the vegetation as well as protect your horse(s). For more information and help in identifying the vegetation in your pasture go to www.weldweeds.org or call 970-400-3770 to schedule an appointment if you live in Weld County.

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