Idaho noxious weed officials are warning Idahoans that the state’s generally mild winter -- coupled with recent warming temperatures -- means conditions are prime for an early and aggressive emergence of Idaho’s 67 different species of invasive and damaging noxious weeds.
Prime culprits found throughout Idaho include Poison hemlock, Canada thistle, Whitetop, Scotch thistle and Rush skeletonweed. They can usually be found along in pastures, hayfields, yards, or along ditch banks.
“We are already getting reports that various species of noxious weeds are starting to pop up through the ground. That means now is the perfect time for landowners and residents to take action to prevent noxious weeds from getting a head start on our native vegetation -- leaving us to try to catch up later in the year,” said Roger Batt, Statewide Coordinator for the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign.
Officials say state and private landowners annually spend upwards of $25 million to fight noxious weeds, but Idaho still loses control of hundreds of acres of land every day to noxious weeds that have infested the state.
Noxious weeds are estimated to directly impact Idaho’s lands by approximately $300 million annually, according to the Idaho Department of Agriculture.
“Despite our best efforts, it is now estimated that more than 8 million acres of the state are plagued by noxious weeds. Many noxious weeds have had decades of proliferation and could have easily been eradicated when first detected. In 1961, just one rangeland weed, Rush skeletonweed, occupied approximately five acres near Banks. Today, it is found across more than one- million acres and continues to spread. It’s a never ending battle,” Batt pointed out.
The Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign is offering a free booklet with color photos depicting Idaho’s noxious weeds in various stages of growth to assist to help identify weeds from other
species of plants. Detailed information on how to further identify and treat these noxious weeds can also be found on the Idaho Weed Awareness website at www.idahoweedawareness.com.
“The battle against noxious weeds must begin as soon as the weeds emerge in the spring. Destroying a noxious weed infestation is much easier if you can identify and apply control measures for the weed when it first appears. The Idaho Noxious Weed Booklet is helping landowners, recreationalists and citizens know what to do if they spot an infestation. The booklet and our website are tools to utilize when trying to determine the best way to control or eradicate a noxious weed,” Batt said..
Copies of the Idaho Noxious Weed Booklet can be requested by calling the Idaho Noxious Weed Hotline at 1-844 WEEDSNO or by visiting the Idaho Weed Awareness Internet web site at: www.idahoweedawareness.org, .net or .com and filling out the Idaho Noxious Weed Booklet request form online on the Campaign’s home page.
Some counties across Idaho are already taking action to stop the noxious weed proliferation. The Ada County Weed Control Department, for example, is notifying residents via social media of the invasive species. If Ada County residents have questions about the weeds they discover on their property, they can contact the Weed Control Department and arrange for crews to conduct weed property inspections. Crews will then advise residents on the best control methods.