Garfield County Achieves Biocontrol Milestone
Garfield County is the first county in the state to have its own Russian knapweed biocontrol nursery and distribution program. Since 2000, Garfield County Vegetation Management has worked with the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Palisade Insectary to release various biocontrol agents on noxious weeds throughout the county. Biological control, or biocontrol, is the use of natural enemies – such as insects or pathogens – to help control weeds or other pest organisms.
Noxious Weed Cost Share program
Garfield County and the Bookcliff, Mount Sopris, and South Side Conservation districts are once again offering landowners financial assistance for controlling noxious weeds and trees on their properties. Cost-sharing is available for all state of Colorado listed noxious weeds and watch list species, including Russian olive, tamarisk, and Siberian elm trees.
Cost share program -|
Spring Weed Watch: Whitetop
Whitetop/Hoary Cress Cardaria draba
• Whitetop is a perennial growing 10” – 18” tall
• Reproduces by seeds and extensive creeping roots
• Clusters of white flowers with four petals give the plant a white, flat-topped appearance
• Blooms from April to May
• One plant can produce up to 5,000 seeds
• One of the first plants to come up in spring
• Displaces native plant species, reduces biodiversity, wildlife habitat and forage production; serious threat to cattle industry
• Contains glucosinolates which can be toxic to cattle
Whitetop emerges early in the spring; in some parts of Garfield County it will bloom in late April or early May. It will set seed about a month after blooming. One of the problems with whitetop is that we often don’t notice it until it starts to flower. This can be a problem as the best time to control whitetop is prior to flowering.
Keeping a good cover of existing native vegetation can prevent weeds from getting established. The best way to manage whitetop once it has established is to prevent it from encroaching further. To prevent invasion, limit seed dispersal. Avoid driving vehicles and equipment through infested areas during the seeding period. Livestock should not graze infested areas during flowering or seed set; if they do, they should be transported to a holding area for 2 weeks after grazing whitetop infested pastures to allow time to pass the seeds.
Follow-up treatments from year to year are essential. Chemical recommendations will vary depending upon the specific site and surrounding land use.
Photo credit: Todd Patrick Photography (top image) and Photo credit: Mark Schwarzlander, bugwood.org (lower image)
Noxious weed calendar
The 2021 Weeds of Garfield County calendar is available. Produced by Garfield County Vegetation Management, the free calendar features stunning images of county landscapes, residents, wildlife, and livestock. Each month includes information about various noxious weeds and what is being done to prevent them from spreading.
The calendars are available at all county branch libraries; and the first floor reception office in the Garfield County Administration Building in Glenwood Springs. You can also contact Garfield County Vegetation Management at 970-945-1377, ext. 4305 or 4315, or email Garfield County Vegetation Management and we’ll be happy to mail you a copy while supplies last.
Noxious Weeds of Colorado: 13th Edition
The latest edition of “Noxious Weeds of Colorado” by Colorado Weed Management Association is available for interested landowners. This pocket-sized field guide includes the A, B and C Colorado State Noxious Weed Lists as well as a Watch List. Species are listed in alphabetical order and each comes with a detailed description as well as pictures to help in identification. Stop by our office to pick up a copy. We are located in Rifle at 195 W. 14th Street, Building D, Suite 310.
Biocontrol in Garfield County
Last year, approximately 3600 biocontrol agents were released for the control of Russian knapweed in Garfield County. More are scheduled to be released in 2019, and the insects seem to feel right at home.
Weed management plan
The Garfield County Weed List provides guidelines for managing designated noxious weeds which represent a threat to the continued economic, environmental and agricultural value of lands in Garfield County. This plan provides for the implementation of the Colorado Noxious Weed Act by detailing integrated management options for designated noxious weeds.
Weed management plan
West Nile precautions
Mosquitoes are appearing in unusually high numbers in Garfield County, prompting the risk of West Nile virus infections. Take precautions, West Nile mosquitoes appeared in five Colorado counties, including Mesa County last year.
Steve Anthony, Garfield County Vegetation Manager, 970-945-1377, ext. 4305
Sarah LaRose, Program Coordinator, 970-945-1377 ext. 4315