Weed Season is Upon Us!
By Taylor Gipe, May 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM
You’re hiking one of your favorite trails, picnicking at the park, or perhaps going for par with your disc golf putter when suddenly… Prick! Poke! Scratch! Ouch! You look down to see your socks covered in a menagerie of thorns and thistles rivaled only by that of your dog’s fur. What you and your dog have likely found is a noxious weed; or as I like to call them – obnoxious!
So what does this mean? Well first, a weed is really any plant that is growing where it is not wanted. This can include small grasses, shrubs, vines or even trees. But we give the name “invasive” to the most troublesome weeds that rapidly multiply and dominate an area and that are very difficult to control. In addition, the state retains a list of “noxious” weeds that are classified as difficult to control, invasive, damaging, and a threat to Nevada’s lands.
As you begin to pick out each and every sticker you think to yourself, “Where did these weeds invade from”? Well, many came from Eurasia during the era of migrations and western settlement. Seeds found their way onto ships in soil and even piggybacking on livestock. Others were simply brought on purpose for ornamental or medicinal reasons. But realistically it’s much too late for any sort of blame as thousands of acres of western public lands are now consumed by noxious weeds every day.
Noxious weeds have many serious impacts that surpass the annoyances in your sock or even your garden for that matter. Not all noxious weeds will poke you either; some are even colorful and nice looking. However, their impacts include:
Native plant displacement
Reduction of plant biodiversity
Invasive weeds affecting threatened and endangered species
Alteration of normal ecological processes, including nutrient and water cycling
Reduction of wildlife habitat and loss of forage
Negatively affected recreational values and uses
Increased Soil erosion and stream sedimentation
Reduction of forage production for livestock
Lower crop production yields
Reduced land values
Increased maintenance costs
Negative effects on human and animal health
Structural damage to buildings and roads
As you can see, there are many negative effects of noxious weeds, but all hope for our open space land is not lost. As part of the Truckee Meadows Weed Coordinating Group (TMWCG), Nevada Land Trust is the lead agency managing, treating, and restoring much of the public lands in the Reno/Sparks, Washoe County area. We have boots on the ground mapping 12 particularly troublesome species of Nevada’s noxious weeds so they can be controlled and monitored each year. We are currently working on 31 park and open space sites in the community. This ongoing battle can’t be won alone. As a community we can all do our part to help reduce noxious weeds on our own properties as well as getting involved with other volunteer weed-pull projects. Together we can proactively put a dent in noxious weeds and preserve our open spaces and special places.
To report a noxious weed or to learn more:
Please contact The Truckee Meadows Weed Coordinating Group at washoeweeds.com or visit the facebook page “Truckee Meadows Weed Coordinating Group”.Add Pingback