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County task force takes on blueweed


Shana Neesvig

BLUEWEED CONTROL is gaining momentum. The Blueweed Task Force spent four days removing the noxious weed from various locations recently. Sanders County Weed District has chemicals and spraying equipment available for private landowner use to combat weed problems.

Sanders County is committed to tackling the blueweed problem that appears to be gaining momentum.

According to Judson Shively, Sanders County Weed Department Supervisor, the county had recently teamed up with Lincoln, Missoula and Ravalli counties in forming the Blueweed Task Force. They spent four days removing the noxious weed from various areas throughout the county.

"We're spraying county roads and state highways, gravel pits, shop yards and pull outs" Shively said addressing what the county is doing about the problem.

As for private landowners, Shively shared that the County Weed District, located at 36 Airport Road in Plains, has chemicals and rental spray equipment available for Sanders County landowners at reduced prices. "It definitely is a good deal for landowners."

According to data published by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, blueweed is native to southern Europe and is typically located along disturbed areas, along roadsides, in overgrazed pastures and near waterways. The plant, which can emerge in spring, summer or fall, flowers once and dies. This can take from two to five years to occur. The seeds, known as nutlets, have a three-year viability rate when buried in soil and 90% chance of successful germination, making it a prolific species.

The plant reduces forage and wildlife habitat because it is unpalatable due to bristly hairs on the main stem and leaves and contains high levels of alkaloids, which can cause liver disease when consumed. The plant also is a host to alfalfa and tobacco mosaic virus, wheat rust and cabbage black ring spot.

Shively encourages anyone who has questions or is interested in eradication education or chemical application instruction to contact him at (406) 826-3487.


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