Greeley Natural Areas & Trails Division officials want community members to look out for noxious weeds all summer long and especially during Noxious Weed Awareness Week.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis designated May 15-22 as Noxious Weed Awareness Week in Colorado. This proclamation helps highlight the need for everyone in the state to take noxious weed control seriously.
Greeley’s Natural Areas & Trails Division manages the city’s 1,000 acres of designated natural areas and 30 miles of trails.
Community members can become volunteer Weed Warriors to locate and control noxious weeds at those locations. Volunteer training will take place virtually 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, June 10. The online workshop will be recorded for individuals who cannot attend. Natural areas staff will also offer a 1-hour training session in the field on a date to be determined by participants. To apply, email Beth Ray, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 402-429-5892, by June 7.
Noxious weeds are not just annoyances in residents’ yards or properties: they are non-native, invasive species with a competitive advantage over native plants and home landscapes. Many of them come from other continents and do not have the natural controls they have in their native land that keeps them from becoming unruly. State or local governments determine which weeds provide a threat to local environments and those get placed on a Noxious Weed List.
“Controlling noxious weeds is not only the right thing to do if you’re a gardener or native plant advocate, but also because it is the law,” said City of Greeley Environmental Planner Karen Scopel.
Mechanical, cultural, or chemical means can help control many of these weeds and using an integrated approach to control using all of these methods is most effective.
“Keeping the ground covered with healthy vegetation and not giving noxious weeds a place to grow is the best solution, and also gives our native pollinators the best chance at thriving, too,” Scopel said.
While many landowners are familiar with identifying noxious weeds, many home gardeners are not and may inadvertently harbor these weeds in their gardens. Visit the Noxious Weed Species ID page at https://ag.colorado.gov/conservation/noxious-weeds/species-id to learn more.
For example, some weeds must be eradicated whenever detected to protect neighboring communities and the entire state. These weeds may or may not be in Colorado yet, or could be in adjacent states and infestation is probable. Eradicating them as soon as anyone finds them helps keep them from gaining a foothold in this state.
“Myrtle Spurge, Orange Hawkweed, and Purple Loosestrife are plants that someone thought would make wonderful ornamentals in the yard, but showed quickly that they are aggressive, dominating species that quickly take over our native vegetation when they escape the confines of a garden,” Scopel said.
If anyone suspects any of these weeds in their yard or neighborhood, contact Greeley’s Code Compliance office at 970-350-9833 or email@example.com. Anyone who lives outside city limits should contact the Weld County Weed Division at 970-400-3770.