Beware ornamental garden invaders

By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist
When you go to the nursery or local greenhouse to buy plants or purchase a seed mixture, you usually don’t expect to bring home an invasive species that is going to take over your yard as well as your neighbors’. While nurseries and greenhouses are usually less risky than buying a seed mix from a national retailer, you may still pick up a noxious weed that is a popular ornamental.
Noxious weeds that are commonly sold as ornamentals include: dame’s rocket, yellow and Dalmatian toadflax, oxeye daisy, myrtle spurge and Chinese clematis. Some of these plants may also be confused with native plants or noninvasive, introduced species.
Shasta daisy is a popular ornamental that is often mistaken for oxeye daisy. In comparison, Shasta daisy is a larger and more robust plant, but to an untrained eye, there are few other differences.
What makes one plant invasive versus a safe choice for your garden? Shasta daisy forms a root ball and does not spread via underground rhizomes. Oxeye daisy does and is capable of escaping a planter and creeping across your lawn and down the right of way to infest the whole subdivision.
As a landowner, you are responsible for managing noxious weeds on your property according to the Colorado Noxious Weed Act Title 35 Article 5.5. Before planting a flower bed or landscaping, make sure you are familiar with the Colorado Noxious Weed List. Not only will it prevent you from planting an illegal species, it will save you time and money in the long run.
If you have planted a noxious weed by mistake, that doesn’t mean you have to tear it out of your garden or treat it with herbicides. If it hasn’t spread out of the planter to your neighbor’s yard, etc., simply clip the flowering heads and bag and burn them or take them to the landfill to prevent seed spread. If you planted a noxious weed that spreads by its roots as well, create a border using garden edging that creates a barrier deeper than the roots penetrate. If you notice that they are spreading, research the life cycle of the plant to determine which treatment method will be the most effective or contact the County Weed and Pest or Colorado State University (CSU) Extension office.
Prevention is much easier than controlling a noxious weed population and will save the homeowner from a lot of headaches.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.
Babysitting classes
Babysitting classes will be offered starting June 13 from noon to 5 p.m. for ages 11 and up. This class is offered for free this year, but will be limited to 15 participants. Please call the CSU Extension office to register.
Weed tour
The Archuleta County weed tour will take place June 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Register by June 11 and receive a free lunch.
To register, email Ethan Proud at eproud@archuletacounty.org with the number of attendees and “Weed Tour” as the subject.
This opportunity is free and funded by grants; as such, there are a limited number spots available.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 pm. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

This story was posted on June 3, 2018.