Community Agriculture Alliance: Weeds and soil health |

Community Agriculture Alliance: Weeds and soil health

Lyn Halliday
Community Agriculture Alliance
The Routt County Conservation District is offering local landowners a new option for spraying weeds with a 200 gallon sprayer for rent.
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If you have ever gardened or worked on a farm or ranch, you know there is rarely a year without weeds.

Nature breeds plants for survival and most weeds are opportunistic plants that take advantage by filling open space in disturbed soil or bare ground where the soil is too poor to support other kinds of growth.

Opportunistic plants don’t compete well with grasses or other perennial plants when those plants are at full strength in a healthy soil. The majority of weeds will survive only as long as the vigor of the surrounding plants is low and weakened by factors such as drought or soil compaction. The presence of weeds could be telling you the soil is imbalanced or unhealthy.

A balanced, healthy soil is teeming with soil microbes and dark in color due to the presence of rich organic matter. Helping landowners and ag producers to better understand their soil health score and ways to improve soil health is a key objective of the Routt County Conservation District.

As soil health improves, so too will plant vigor causing weeds to struggle to compete for space and light to germinate and grow. This is why cover crops providing year-round vegetation limit weed opportunities. 

Noxious and invasive weeds are of particular concern in our region. As always, you want to identify the weeds first. Not all management strategies work for all weeds.

A great reference is the Routt County Weed Management Guide. There are multiple methods of weed control. Prevention is the first and most important step in a weed control program, not to mention the most cost effective. Other methods of weed control include chemical, mechanical, biological and cultural. You can learn more at the Routt County Weed program.

Examples of cultural methods include burning, mulching, and utilizing livestock such as cattle, goats, and sheep. Examples of mechanical methods include hand-pull, hoe, mow, and tillage.

Biological methods involve the use of a bioagent like insects, pathogens and other animals to control weeds. Chemical control involves the application of an herbicide to control the germination or growth of specifically targeted weed species.

If you determine that the best way to control the weeds on your property is chemical, the Routt County Conservation District is now offering Routt County landowners a new option for spraying weeds and inviting them to visit our website to find out more about our 200 gallon sprayer for rent and to book online, You will also find a link to the Routt County Weed Management Guide.

For questions about renting the weed sprayer, email .

Lyn Halliday is the board president for the Routt County Conservation District. For more about the Community Agriculture Alliance, go to

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