Purge the spurge from gardens in Garfield County

Purge the Spurge event runs until June 5

April 27, 2015

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Residents of Garfield County can help purge two highly invasive non-native weeds, the myrtle and cypress spurge. Garfield County Vegetation Management is running a program until June 5 which rewards landowners who remove these toxic weeds with vouchers for new, non-invasive plants.

During the event, residents can exchange a 30-gallon garbage bag of myrtle and cypress spurge for a complimentary $20 voucher redeemable at Mountain Valley Greenhouse in Glenwood Springs. Residents may use the voucher to purchase native Colorado plants.

Once the weeds have been collected, residents can contact any of the sponsors below to receive an on-site visit, which will confirm that the correct weeds have been pulled and collected. Once the sponsor verifies the correct weeds, local gardeners will then receive coupons for non-invasive landscape plants at Mountain Valley Greenhouse. Call Colorado State University (CSU) Extension at (970) 625-3969, Garfield County Vegetation Management at (970) 379-4456, or Bookcliff, South Side, and Mount Sopris conservation districts at (970) 945-5494, ext. 104, to arrange an on-site visit.

“This program has been getting bigger every year,” said Garfield County Vegetation Manager Steve Anthony. “We’re really excited to see how many people stay involved year after year to help eradicate these invasive weeds.” Myrtle and cypress spurge were originally imported as ornamental garden and landscaping plants. Since then, they have escaped garden boundaries and have now infested areas of native vegetation.

“The spurge can spread easily and needs to be eradicated,” commented Anthony. “The myrtle and cypress spurge create monoculture areas that disrupt the native balance in our area. Since they aren’t native plants, these spurge don’t have any natural predators in Garfield County.”

Garfield County property owners are asked to exercise caution when they pull these invasive weeds. Be aware that both plants have milky sap that can cause skin irritation. As a safety precaution, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and gloves when pulling weeds. For best results, try to remove at least four inches of the root from the ground. To dispose of the bagged spurge once it has been verified by a sponsor, place the pulled, bagged spurge into a trash receptacle.