October 2017
Welcome to the Teton County Weed and Pest District newsletter! We plan on updating subscribers on useful information pertaining to Mosquitoes and Invasive Species.

Check out our website!

In this edition you will find information regarding:
  • How to be sure you KEEP GETTING this newsletter!!!
  • Know your plants - the Native, the Noxious, and the OBnoxious!
  • How to winterize your herbicides and spray equipment
  • Upcoming Events - October Board Meeting, NAISMA/PlayCleanGo Summit, and HalloWEED
Update Your Newsletter Subscription with TCWP!
    S ince the first issue of the TCWP newsletter was circulated in 2012, our readership has grown significantly. Now that the newsletter is under new authorship, the time has come to refresh our list of newsletter contacts and assure that it is reaching an attentive audience.
     You will be receiving an email from TCWP soon after you receive this newsletter that will ask you to confirm that you still want to receive our monthly newsletter. You will need to click on the link provided in the email and follow the instructions to make sure you remain on our newsletter contact list. Be forewarned, those who dare to ignore this email will be removed from our contact list and I will be unable to add them back!  I am taking this brave step, though I risk losing some of my contacts in the process, because I want to be sure that everyone receiving the newsletter really wants to read it, and that all email addresses are valid. 
     If you subscribed to our newsletter years ago, and find that you are not as interested in weeds and pests as you used to be, don't let your inbox become cluttered up with unread newsletters! Though sorry to see you go, I would much rather replace you with an eager, newly recruited weed warrior than have you feel guilty each month because our newsletter is sitting in your inbox unread. If you DO want to continue receiving our monthly newsletter and have the chance to read a few articles each month about weed and pest related topics like the articles below, please be sure to re-initiate your subscription in the upcoming email.

Meta Dittmer


The Native, the Noxious, and the just plain OBnoxious!
If you visited our office last summer, you probably noticed various plants on the counter, displayed in vases with labels stating their names and a designation: "Native," "Noxious Weed," or "Weed, NOT noxious," which we will hereafter refer to as "Obnoxious."

The plants on display could ALL have been considered "weeds," but depending on their designation, TCWP would treat them very differently. Why is that?

First, let's define "weed." Easier said than done! The most general and inclusive definition of a weed is any plant growing where it is not wanted. Therefore, grass growing in your strawberry patch is a "weed," but grass growing in your lawn is not. It is more helpful to expand this definition: A weed is a plant growing where it is not wanted, and growing aggressively, due to its possession of certain "weedy" characteristics. Those characteristics include:

1. They are "pioneers" that capitalize on disturbed areas and grow very quickly
2. They are prolific reproducers, putting out millions of seeds each year and/or reproducing vegetatively through extensive underground root systems
3. They are very tolerant of poor quality environments and can survive and thrive in undesirable habitats like road-cuts and parking lots
4. They are often unpalatable and sometimes even poisonous to local animals
5. They are not native to the ecosystem, and therefore have no co-evolved predators

All of the above traits make weeds highly competitive with native plants!

Based on these characteristics, let's investigate "weeds" that are native, noxious, and just obnoxious.
Common Yarrow is a native plant that is very competitive and
often considered a "weed"
There are many species of native plants that are widely considered to be weeds because they have one or more of the weedy characteristics listed above. Common Yarrow, Curly-cup Gumweed, and Long-leaved Aster are native plants in the Aster family that are very good competitors and thrive in challenging environments. These plants often appear in dry, gravelly soils, along the right-of-way of roads, and in disturbed areas. In a well-watered yard, these species will also do well, and may out-compete other more desirable plants.
Curlycup Gumweed is a native plant that is often found in overgrazed rangeland and roadsides and many consider it a weed

Lupine and Larkspur are native plants with beautiful purple flowers that ranchers consider weeds because they are toxic to livestock. They are occasionally eaten by native wildlife.
Larkspur is a native plant that is toxic to cattle and therefore considered a weed by ranchers

Here at TCWP, native plants are usually not treated as weeds. We view them as highly-evolved species that - at this point in time - have a competitive advantage over their peers. Ecological competition is a natural process that drives evolution, and if native plants are out-competing other native plants, it is not our role to interfere. We usually do not condone the treatment of these "weedy" natives. They are not considered "noxious."

Noxious Weeds
"Noxious Weeds" are the only weeds we concern ourselves with at TCWP. To have the unfortunate designation of "noxious," a weed must be non-native AND cause significant harm to ecosystems and/or agricultural systems. They do this by invading and displacing native forage and/or agricultural crops, causing significant loss of habitat as well as economic loss.
Spotted Knapweed is considered a noxious weed because it invades healthy native plant communities and changes the soil chemistry, making the soil unfavorable to native plants. Eventually, the previously diverse native community will be replaced with one species - Spotted Knapweed!

Weeds like Leafy Spurge, Salt Cedar and Spotted Knapweed are known as "habitat transformers" because they change the physical structure and forage availability in habitats, eventually pushing resident wildlife out. There are currently 26 species on the Wyoming State Designated Noxious Weed List, and an additional 26 on the Teton County Declared Noxious Weed List. To see these lists, click here.
Dalmatian Toadflax is the yellow flower that is crowding the native sagebrush and Fireweed in the foreground. Toadflax is a noxious weed that can also be a problem in agricultural settings, where its under-ground root system may get caught in the plow, further spreading the infestation

These noxious weeds are not allowed to exist in Teton County and must be eradicated according to the   Wyoming Weed and Pest Control Act, Title 11, Chapter 5.  If you have any of these weeds on your property, call us at 733-8419 and we will assist you in their eradication.

OBnoxious Garden Weeds
These are considered weeds because they have some of the above characteristics and they are non-native. However, they are not considered "noxious," because they do not invade and displace healthy native plant communities. Examples include Dandelions, Salsify, Yellow Sweetclover, and Field Penny Cress.
Salsify is a notorious garden weed that infuriates landowners with its large, globular seedheads that fill the skies with seed on a windy day

People often come into our office complaining about these weeds because they find them in their gardens, flowerbeds and lawns. Although it is frustrating to see your yard filled with dandelion seed-heads, prepared to blow their progeny into every crack and cranny of your property, dandelions and the like are really the least of your weed worries. They are in your yard because you created ideal habitat for them there. They wouldn't survive as well in the sagebrush steppe.
Field Pennycress is one of the countless weeds in the Mustard family that pop up in gardens each spring. Though obnoxious, they do not present a real problem, and like all mustard species, they are edible!

These weeds are not considered noxious because they don't disrupt natural ecological settings. Instead, they co-exist with other native plants, are often eaten by wildlife, and may eventually receive the designation of "naturalized."

So kill them if you must, but we would rather you reserved your time and energy for the real criminals - the noxious weeds!
Winter is coming - Are you prepared?
"Winter is coming!" warns Jon Snow

 Winter is coming!!! And though we don't have to worry about the "White Walkers," we DO have to worry about sub-zero night-time temperatures and what that will do to our campers, boats, jet skis, hoses, and the remnants of our summer gardens. Let's face it, depressing though it may be, the time has come to winterize. 

Something you may not think about, as you reluctantly fill your camper's waterlines with antifreeze, is WEEDS...huh? Weeds are probably the furthest thing from your mind. But next spring, they will be back with a vengeance, determined to overwhelm you with millions of seedlings in return for the dose of Milestone you gave them last fall.
Seedlings of weeds like this Spotted Knapweed will be
back with a vengeance next spring!

When you rush to the storage shed for your herbicide and sprayer, you could be disappointed to find your spray wands and nozzles cracked from the freeze-thaw of any residual liquid that was left in the system over the winter. You might also find that the herbicide you invested in last summer is now devoid of potency due to chemical changes resulting from freezing. How can you avoid being ambushed by a noxious weed invasion next spring with no way to defend yourself? 

Winterize your herbicides and spray equipment!

Milestone is an herbicide sold by TCWP that loses potency when frozen

The ingredients in liquid herbicide formulations remain active indefinitely unless frozen. Herbicides we provide that fall into the "liquid" category include Milestone and Speedzone, and local retailers sell many more. All of these must be stored above 32F this winter, and it is best to check the label to see what other storage recommendations are provided.

Granular formulations, like Opensight, Telar, Escort and Round-up Quikpro, do not freeze, and will be okay in the unheated storage shed this winter.

If you have liquid herbicide that has frozen and you want to get rid of it, we recommend calling the Jackson Community Recycling Center at 733-7678. They have a household hazardous waste program that TCWP helps to fund for your convenience.
This is the type of backpack sprayer TCWP loans to landowners in the summer. If you have purchased one of these from us, be sure to clean and winterize it!

Spray Equipment:
You must properly clean and winterize your spray equipment to ensure safe storage over the winter. Though herbicide labels usually contain specific information about how to remove residue from spray equipment, most herbicide residues can be removed using a solution of ammonia and water. Just be sure to wear your PPE (personal protective equipment) while cleaning, and don't dump rinsate in sensitive areas. 

For step-by-step instructions from Tech-line on how to properly CLEAN your spray equipment, click here.

Once your equipment has been properly cleaned, it can be winterized. A 50% solution of antifreeze should be pumped through the sprayer so that all parts are exposed to the solution. NOTE: Automotive antifreeze is recommended because it is less corrosive to sprayer pumps and seals than RV antifreeze. However, automotive antifreeze is toxic and must be collected for re-use or proper disposal, while RV antifreeze is nontoxic and can be sprayed onto the ground.

For step-by-step instructions from Tech-line on how to properly WINTERIZE your spray equipment, click  here.
When you are finished with your winterizing chores, be sure to enjoy the winter season with the knowledge that all of your toys are sleeping peacefully, and will be ready for more fun next spring!

Jackson Hole Wild Science Festival, Sunday-Monday, October 1-2

October Board Meeting, Wednesday, October 18 @ 12pm

NAISMA/PlayCleanGo Summit, October 23  - 26 

Hallow-WEED, Tuesday, October 31:  TCWP will be open 8-4pm on Halloween, Stop by for candy and to see our costumes!

Visit our Event Calendar on our website for more info. 

Thank you for subscribing to the Teton County Weed and Pest District Newsletter. We hope that you find the information useful! If there are any topics that would be of interest to you, please email me your suggestions. 





Meta Dittmer
Teton County Weed and Pest District
7575 S. Hwy 89 Jackson, WY 83001