Join the battle
Take precautions at home and at play;
Pitch in with a local weed-fighting group
by Mary Ann Reese
Join one of Idaho’s Cooperative Weed Management Areas to help with efforts to detect and stop noxious weeds in your area. Encourage your outdoor clubs to seek training to detect unwanted plants or bugs. Contacts include county weed supervisors or weed managers of state, county, or federal lands near you.
by Noah Kroese
- Avoid driving in noxious weed-infested areas. Seeds can become stuck in tire treads or mud on vehicles and carried to unaffected areas. Carefully clean tires, socks, hiking clothes, tents, mountain bikes immediately after use to prevent unwanted hitchhikers.
- Scrub hulls, decks, boat trailers, and fishing gear of plants, organic fragments. Dirt the size of a dime could carry a balled-up mudsnail that can survive a year before it’s transferred to a new watershed. Don’t dump unused bait into the water. Some baits are invasive species.
- Don’t transport firewood. If you take firewood with you when camping, you don’t know what you’re taking with it. (Emerald ash borers recently forced Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana to destroy 300,000 infested trees.)
- Empty stray water from your canoe, dive gear, and other outdoor equipment before heading home.
- Wash and brush dogs after trips to the water or woods.
At home and on the farm
- Become informed. Know which plants look like noxious weeds and note any growing on your property. Idaho law requires landowners to control noxious weeds on their property.
- Watch irrigation systems. Noxious weeds like purple loosestrife, hoary cress, and leafy spurge thrive on ditch banks and spread through the irrigation system. Don’t move livestock from a weed-infested area to an uninfested area. Livestock can spread weed seed in their fur, on muddy feet, and in digestive tracts.
- Landscape and garden with plants native to your area. Native plants require less water, fertilizers, and pesticides. Be especially careful when buying plants and seeds on the Internet or by mail order. Especially avoid mixtures of seeds labeled “wildflowers.” Many contain invasive species.
- Don’t dump aquarium water or aquatic plants into local waters. Eurasian watermilfoil became established in other states after being discarded from a personal aquarium.
- Be a good neighbor. Never dispose of unwanted plants or lawn or garden clippings in a nearby park or natural area. Invasive plants can spread from plant fragments, seeds, and berries.
- Keep your eyes open. If you see a plant or animal that seems out of place, report it to your UI Extension office or to land agency staff members.