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Community Agriculture Alliance: Routt County Noxious Weed Days

Tiffany Carlson
Community Agriculture Alliance
A cress plant species is shown in this undated image. In an effort to control noxious weeds, the Routt County Weed Program is offering upcoming two events on May 28 and June 3.
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Living in Routt County, chances are you have come across noxious weeds on your property, your neighbor’s property or on surrounding public lands.

Noxious weeds are non-native aggressive invaders that quickly replace native vegetation, reduce agricultural productivity, impact recreational opportunities, decrease property values and create an increased wildfire threat.

One of the first noxious weeds to appear each season is whitetop (Lepidium draba), also known as hoary cress. This weed is widely distributed both throughout the city and county.



The challenge with whitetop is that it is a deep rooted perennial that easily invades an area and continues to spread by both seeds and roots. The above ground portion we see is actually just the tip of the iceberg, as the majority of this plant’s biomass is in its roots below ground.

Due to these extensive roots, an herbicide application is likely going to be needed to manage the below ground part of the plant and gain any headway on managing an overall infestation.



For whitetop, the best integrated management approach is to repeatedly mow plants before flowers form and then apply an appropriate herbicide solution. The mowing stresses the plant, causes it to use stored root reserves and usually results in herbicides being more effective. Digging, pulling or tilling does not help manage this weed but instead promotes growth.

The best management for whitetop, and all weeds, is early detection and rapid response. Be very cautious transporting topsoil or nursery stock as these are the most common ways this weed spreads.

Noxious weeds don’t stop at property lines, so weed control is a neighborhood effort. In an effort to help you and your neighbors with whitetop control, the Routt County Weed Program has developed Noxious Weed Days, two events open to the public to help educate, increase awareness and empower everyone to appropriately manage noxious weeds on their properties.

Please join us from 8 a.m. to noon on May 28 or June 3 at the Routt County Noxious Weed Shop, 2300 County Shop Road, in Steamboat Springs. Dates and times are subject to change if inclement weather is predicted. Please refer to http://www.co.routt.co.us/216/Weed-Program for updates.

At these events, residents will have the opportunity to talk with CSU Master Gardeners about plant identification. Attendees are encouraged to bring plant specimens (please properly bag them if containing seeds) or photos to be identified.

Additionally, attendees wishing to learn more about herbicide use and application are encouraged to bring their handheld and backpack sprayers. The Routt County Weed Program and the Noxious Weed Advisory Board will be there to help residents calibrate their equipment, educate on appropriate application methods and provide interested residents with up to five gallons of premixed herbicide solution.

The provided solution will be effective at managing whitetop, as well as many other problematic broadleaf weeds, such as houndstongue, chamomile, common mullein and curly dock.

Remember, we can’t stop the spread of noxious weeds without your help.

For questions, contact Tiffany Carlson at tcarlson@co.routt.co.us or 970-870-5246. Tiffany Carlson is the Noxious Weed Supervisor for Routt County.

Tiffany Carlson is the noxious weed supervisor for Routt County.


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