Noxious weeds obnoxious
Obnoxious is how people might describe noxious weeds.
They grow in Summit County and officials in Park City and the county want them controlled. In the county and the city, leaders have declared a week in late spring to highlight those efforts.
The Summit County Commission and the Park City Council, with little discussion, each approved measures. The week runs from May 28 until June 2.
Robert West, who works in the Summit County Weed Department, says there are several noxious weeds that grow in the county. Noxious weeds usually are not native to an area and, when they arrive, they spread quickly.
"When it gets out of its environment, there’s no natural checks and balances," West says, explaining many noxious weeds in the area come from Europe. "It makes it so it can explode and take over."
In Park City, Pace Erickson, who manages the operations in the Public Works Department, agrees with the danger.
"One or two noxious weeds become 1,000 fast," Erickson says.
He says the upcoming week could encourage people to eradicate the weeds.
"It’s hopefully going to raise awareness for people to control noxious weeds on their property. It’s becoming a problem," Erickson says.
He says three noxious weeds are especially problematic in the city limits, including musk thistle, hoary cress and Dyer’s woad.
"They’re horribly invasive," he says.
According to information from West’s department, musk thistle grows between six and seven feet tall and its flowers are colored purple or rose. It comes from southern Europe and western Asia and is best controlled from April until June and in September and October, the department says.
The Weed Department says Dyer’s woad has leaves colored blue or green, yellow flowers and originally came from Europe. The department indicates Dyer’s woad is best controlled from April until June and in September.
The department says hoary cress grows to two feet tall, has white flowers and is best controlled from May until July.
In a report to Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council before the measure passed, Erickson indicates the local government has formally battled noxious weeds on City Hall-owned property since 1994. He says Park City spends about $10,000 annually to control the weeds on city property. Another $15,000 each year is spent on controlling the weeds on open space such as the McPolin Farm. Erickson says in the report the city controls noxious weeds on more than 1,000 acres, with about 100 being treated each year.
In the report, Erickson indicates people who do not control noxious weeds could be fined $25 per day under City Hall’s laws. In outlying Summit County, West says, if a property owner does not control the weeds, county crews can remove them and charge the owner. West says usually property owners comply, though.
Local festivities during the week include a walking tour to identify noxious weeds, a community Dyer’s woad pull, a seminar and an information booth at the Swaner Nature Festival, scheduled on June 2. The events are free. The Summit County Library at Kimball Junction will host a weed exhibit.
More information about noxious weeds is available on Summit County’s Web site, http://www.summitcounty.org/weeds.
Patrick Parkinson contributed.
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