Extension Viewpoints – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Fri, 13 Sep 2019 15:10:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 Noxious weed of the month: Russian knapweed http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/09/15/noxious-weed-of-the-month-russian-knapweed/ Sun, 15 Sep 2019 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=177718 By Ethan Proud
Special to The SUN
Russian knapweed is a drought-hardy plant and is spreading from the Arboles area up into Pagosa Springs and the Pagosa Lakes area. Two other knapweeds occur in Archuleta County, diffuse and spotted knapweed, which occur throughout the county, including Chromo.
Unlike its biennial counterparts, Russian knapweed is a perennial that spreads not only by seeds, but through its roots as well.
Due to its vigorous root system, it should not be pulled, though tilling can offer some control and mowing can be done every two to four weeks to exhaust the root reserve and prevent flowering and seed set. Both tillage and mowing need to be repeated frequently over a period of years to achieve adequate control. Russian knapweed chokes out native vegetation and forms a monoculture, which stops native plant establishment. Russian knapweed causes chewing disease in horses and has no cure. Herbicide treatments can be done at all life stages, but the label must be followed. Winter treatments can be effective if conditions permit applications.
Biological controls are available for Russian knapweed, but in order to be effective, competitive native species should be planted. Russian knapweed is allelopathic and secretes chemicals from its roots to inhibit the growth of other plants.
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 p.m. 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.

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Growing garlic in the Colorado high country http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/09/09/growing-garlic-in-the-colorado-high-country/ Mon, 09 Sep 2019 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=176886 Growing garlic is easy. I have been growing garlic in the Colorado high country for over 20 years and planting between Sept. 15 and Oct. 1 (and no later) gets me the biggest and best garlic bulbs the following summer.
Every gardener that I have talked to that has followed the Oct. 1 date to plant has had the best results. It’s a year-round process that starts with planting in the fall, harvesting some spring garlic, cutting and cooking the garlic scapes in the summer, then harvesting full-grown garlic in the later part of summer — and repeat.
There are basically two kinds of garlic: hardneck and softneck. The hardneck variety has bigger cloves, is spicier, but stores for a shorter time, about three to five months. The beautiful braids of garlic that you might see are softneck, which has smaller cloves, is milder and stores for about six to eight months.
Get your bulbs from a reliable source. Most independent garden centers will have garlic bulbs for sale in September. You can buy them online, but may not receive them to get them in the ground on time. Shop as soon as they come in to get the biggest and best bulbs. Don’t wait. They are expensive, but next year you will save some of your harvest to plant back in. You may have to visit several garden shops and hardware stores to get all that you need, but it is worth it.
Plant garlic by Oct. 1, but choose your site and get the soil ready now. It likes full sun, so choose a site that allows the ground to be fully exposed to sun throughout the winter. Our soils are full of clay and shale, so it’s best to add some organic material (mushroom compost, home compost, purchased garden soil) — anything to allow for good drainage.
Separate the cloves and organize them by size. The larger cloves can be harvested in the late summer for full garlic and the smaller cloves can be harvested in the spring for smaller bulbs. Leave garlic bulbs intact until you are ready to plant, then break into cloves. Leave paper coverings on cloves. Plant in rows, 4-6 inches apart. Plant with pointy end up, root plate down and cover with 2-4 inches of soil depending on bulb size and your elevation. Roots will grow before winter.
Heavily mulch with straw. A good 4-inch layer of straw mulch will help mitigate weeds and keep the soil temperatures even as well to avoid frost heaving. In the spring when scapes appear on your hardneck garlic, cut them off once they come up and bend before they straighten back up. Eat and enjoy them as they are a spring delicacy. Harvest when leaves are 50 percent brown and you have withheld water for about five days to allow papery covering to dry well.
If you are unsure that your garlic is ready, you can brush the soil away from one of the bulbs by hand to check the size and readiness of your bulbs. Use a spading fork to loosen the soil about 3 inches from the bulb and tip the bulbs up from underneath. Shake off soil and put in well ventilated, cool, dry place to cure for several weeks. After the bulbs have cured (have the papery cover), remove the brown foliage and cut the roots; use a soft brush if further cleaning is needed.
I recommend roasting your garlic to get the full, pure flavor. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, slice off the top of the head of garlic, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and place in a shallow dish. Roast until golden and soft, about 45 minutes. Let cool, then squeeze out the garlic cloves and use on everything.
Upcoming event
Fermentation classes: There is one class left on Sept. 11 (dairy). The class is from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Extension Office and the cost is $25. Call 264-5931 to sign up.

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Weeds and fire can come hand in hand http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/08/27/weeds-and-fire-can-come-hand-in-hand/ Tue, 27 Aug 2019 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=176031 By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist
Noxious weeds are not only a biological wildfire, but often the two come hand in hand. Wildfires are fought by first containing the fire, which is similar to the method behind fighting noxious weeds. The problem with weeds, though, is that they can be so widespread it is hard to figure out a starting point.
After a fire, the ground is barren and primed with nutrients for pioneer species to colonize the soil and make way for biological succession. Native plants like fireweed often are accompanied with noxious invaders such as Canada thistle and musk thistle.
Under normal circumstances, “weedy” species colonize the soil and break up nutrients in the soil, making them available for other species. Eventually, these colonizers are replaced by grasses, forbs, shrubs and, ultimately, trees. Noxious weeds are not selected by grazing mammals, insect herbivores and lack pathogens, thus creating a monoculture that drives out desirable species. This locks the plant community in a seral stage and halts biological succession. After a fire, it is necessary to treat noxious weeds to allow the forest to return to a healthy state.
Some noxious weeds such as cheatgrass and salt cedar increase the risk of fire and promote fires at more frequent intervals. Many native species rely on fires to germinate seeds and return nutrients bound in plant tissues to the soil. However, cheatgrass stands shorten the interval between fires and native plants cannot mature to a stage where they can bounce back from a fire and the cheatgrass then dominates that plant community.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.
Upcoming events
Fermentation classes: Aug. 28 (vegetables), Sept. 4 (bread) and Sept. 11 (dairy). All classes are from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost is $25 per class or $60 for all three. The cost includes materials, instructor and a jar of food to go home in each class. Space is limited, sign up today, 264-5931.
Resilient Archuleta: Sept. 4, 6 p.m. at the Extension office. Watershed Enhancement Partnership efforts.
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 p.m. 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.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

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Food labels and what they mean http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/08/20/food-labels-and-what-they-mean/ Tue, 20 Aug 2019 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=175558 Consumer research conducted by Colorado State University (CSU) revealed that many consumers make food purchasing decisions based on moral or social ideals, such as paying more for a “local” apple to support the local economy or to reduce our carbon footprint.
As food consumers, we are regularly faced with choosing between brands and, while price is important, we also look at labels to help us decide. Interestingly though, the survey conducted by CSU found that while many people will pay more for “free range” eggs, or “naturally grown” chicken, when asked to define these terms, most consumers didn’t get it right. If it’s important to you to know where your food comes from and how it was raised, understanding the meanings of some common labels will help you evaluate label claims.
Organic is a USDA certified label which means that the food is grown and processed using no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, sewage sludge nor irradiation. Pesticides derived from natural sources (e.g., biological pesticides) may be used. It’s worth noting that organic farmers cannot use genetically engineered seeds, so if you are worried about eating genetically modified foods, just purchase organic products. Organic meats and dairy products are hormone-free and antibiotic-free. Livestock are fed organically raised feed and have access to the outdoors. Organic farmers often use manure as a nutrient source and cultivation for weed control. The manure does not have to be from organically raised animals. Growing and raising products organically usually costs more because it can be more labor intensive and organic seeds, feed and fertilizers often cost more. Furthermore, the certification and yearly approval process requires intensive record keeping, time and money.
The naturally raised USDA certified label can be used on meat and meat products. All products labeled with a naturally raised marketing claim must incorporate information explicitly stating that animals have been raised in a manner that meets the following conditions: 1) no growth hormones were administered to the animals; 2) no antibiotics (other than ionophores used to prevent parasitism) were administered to the animal; and 3) no animal by-products were fed to the animals. Farm fresh is not a certified label and it really has no substance.
Grass-fed cattle eat grass for the first six to 12 months of their lives and then most are shipped to a feedlot to “finish” or fatten on grain. The USDA grass-fed label requires that cattle be fed only mother’s milk and forage (grass and other greens) throughout their lives. Forage can be in the form of hay, but cattle must have access to pasture during the growing season. This could mean that from October to March (outside the growing season), cattle are confined and fed hay. This label has no standards regarding the use of antibiotics or hormones. For small herds (less than 50 cattle or less than 100 ewes), there is a label called Grass Fed Small and Very Small (SVS) Producer Program. For more information on this program, go to www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/GrassFedSVS.
Free-range: This USDA label means that chickens are raised in a manner where they have unlimited access to the outdoors during their production cycle to get sunlight, fresh air and freedom of movement. However, the amount of time and the size of the outdoor space are ambiguous. Cage-free chickens are able to freely roam a building, room or enclosed area. Although the number of chickens per area is not regulated, on average there is one chicken per square foot of space. Cage-free living allows chickens to spread their wings and roost at night, but if you’ve ever raised chickens, you might guess that too many chickens in a confined space can lead to injury and possible death from pecking.
Humane: While this label is not regulated by USDA, there are multiple labeling programs that offer this certification and each has its own requirements for practices such as handling, marking, indoor space requirements, animal health, transportation and slaughter. Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, American Humane Certified and Validus Certified are popular programs that offer this label. Visit their websites to learn about specific standards.
No added hormones and raised without hormones: USDA regulations have never permitted the use of hormones or steroids in poultry, pork and goats, so for these products, the label isn’t important. However, hormones are commonly used in dairy and cattle production. For example, hormones such as rBGH or rBST are used in dairy production to increase cows’ milk production. Most beef cattle today are given estrogen (estradial) and/or other combinations of hormones to promote growth and fatten them up. Use of the “no added hormones” label for beef and dairy products is administered by the USDA.
No antibiotics: While antibiotics are rarely used on hens for egg production, antibiotics are commonly administered to livestock in diary, poultry and meat production. Antibiotics are used to reduce disease and sickness in a herd. The USDA label “no antibiotics” can be used on poultry and meat products. For antibiotic-free dairy products, look for the organic label.
Upcoming events
Fermentation classes: Aug. 28 (vegetables), Sept. 4 (bread) and Sept. 11 (dairy). All classes are from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost is $25 per class or $60 for all three. The cost includes materials, instructor and a jar of food to go home in each class. Space is limited, sign up today, 264-5931.
Resilient Archuleta: Sept. 4, 6 p.m. at the Extension office. Watershed Enhancement Partnership efforts.
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 p.m. 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.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

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Noxious weed of the month: yellow toadflax http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/08/09/noxious-weed-of-the-month-yellow-toadflax/ Fri, 09 Aug 2019 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=174899

Photo courtesy Jamie Jones
Yellow toadflax, also known as butter and eggs, is poised to be a major threat to ecosystem health in the San Juan Mountains.

By Ethan Proud
SUN Columnist
Yellow toadflax, also known as butter and eggs, is a beautiful plant with a snapdragon-esque flower. It is native to the Mediterranean and has a bottle brush appearance of narrow leaves that can be up to 2 inches long. They either do not branch or branch sparingly, with only one to three stems per shoot.
The plant is connected through a creeping root system and most of the above-ground shoots are clones. The root system is not as extensive as some of our other perennial invaders and grows to a depth of 3 feet and spreads 10 feet laterally.
Yellow toadflax may be spread by birds when seeds become trapped in their feathers and are carried for miles before being deposited. Tillage and hand-pulling are not recommended methods of control as the entire root will not be removed. Repeated mowing can be successful, but should be done before the plant flowers to prevent seed spread. Herbicide treatments are very effective on yellow toadflax and several options are available from the county Weed and Pest Office.
Behind oxeye daisy, yellow toadflax is poised to be a major threat to ecosystem health in the San Juan Mountains. PlayCleanGo is a program that promotes healthy outdoor recreation and preventive measures for invasive weeds. Always clean your boots and tires after hiking, riding or driving in an area with yellow toadflax.
Upcoming events
Fermentation classes: Aug. 28 (vegetables), Sept. 4 (bread) and Sept. 11 (dairy). All classes are from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost is $25/per class or $60 for all three. The cost includes materials, instructor and a jar of food to go home in each class. Space is limited, sign up today, 264-5931.
Resilient Archuleta — Sept. 4, 6 p.m. at the Extension office. Watershed Enhancement Partnership efforts.
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 p.m. 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.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

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Contain, suppress, eradicate: noxious weed goal-setting http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/07/29/contain-suppress-eradicate-noxious-weed-goal-setting/ Mon, 29 Jul 2019 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=173890 By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist
Once you have established that you have a noxious weed infestation on your property, you have to figure out what to do with it. Sometimes this is discouraging once you’ve done the research or consulted with local experts.
Musk thistle seeds survive in the soil for 50 years and controlling them can be a daunting task, especially since it is the most widespread weed in Archuleta County. The State Noxious List has weeds designated for different types of control. The A-list weeds must be eradicated, the B-list species should be contained and eradicated, and those on the C list should be suppressed and their spread limited.
Eradication is fairly simple: All standing plants must be destroyed and the site monitored for the length of time the seeds are viable. This is feasible when you have discovered your first invader and it is a single plant. Treat it or pull it before it flowers and watch the area to see if more weeds appear. Seeds can be moved by wild animals like birds, so a weed on your property isn’t an indicator that you have done something wrong.
If you discover that the white daisy you liked that is all over your yard is oxeye daisy, which is noxious and extremely aggressive, containment is the best course of action. Depending on the size of the property in question, it can be treated in a single season or day. If it covers a number of acres, begin at the edges of the infestation and create a 50-foot buffer zone and work inward each year. It may be tempting to start at the epicenter of the invasion, but this will only allow the weeds to spread and you will constantly be chasing a moving target.
Each year, work inward, monitoring the area treated the previous year. It is wise to treat property boundaries, driveways and heavily trafficked areas first to prevent further spread. As tempting as it may be, do not treat your neighbors’ land for them unless you have their explicit consent. They may have an organic farm, animals or other reasons for not using herbicides. Also, if you misapply the herbicide and do not follow label directions, it is a federal violation.
Weeds that may be hand-pulled or mowed can also be contained following the same procedure as with chemical applications. Never mow a plant that has already gone to seed unless you can contain those seeds and prevent them from being flung by the blades of the mower.
Suppression of weeds simply means that their spread is limited, as well as seed production. If you have mullein on your property, you might like how it looks or use it as an herbal remedy. That is fine, but do your part to prevent its spread. The seeds persist in the soil for up to 100 years and you won’t need to keep replanting. Cut all seed heads off the plant and dig up rosettes that are escaping down your driveway. Suppression can also be achieved by using biological controls. Not all weeds have a biocontrol option; check out the Colorado Department of Agriculture website to request biocontrols.
Moving from noxious (legally mandated control) to all other weeds, goal-setting is more subjective. A weed is defined as a plant out of place. Weeds do not exist in biology, which favors the strongest species or punishes the weakest.
A diversity of plant species is a sign of a healthy ecosystem and seasonal and yearly changes are to be expected. Sometimes a change in dominant plant species is part of the natural cycle and they are replacing the nutrients taken from the soil by the dominant species the previous years. In drier years especially, you may see a different variety of plants growing. Your reason for controlling weeds is usually the deciding factor on which goal is right for you.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.

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Colorado Forest Legacy Program applications due July 31 http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/07/23/colorado-forest-legacy-program-applications-due-july-31/ Tue, 23 Jul 2019 11:00:43 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=173414 The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) is accepting Forest Legacy Program proposals from Colorado landowners. The program authorizes the CSFS or U.S. Forest Service to purchase permanent conservation easements on private forest lands to prevent those lands from being converted to nonforest uses.
The application deadline is July 31 for federal fiscal year 2021 funding and proposals must be submitted by standard mail.
The purpose of the Colorado Forest Legacy Program is to protect environmentally important private forest areas that are threatened by conversion to nonforest uses. The program provides an opportunity for private landowners to retain ownership and management of their land while receiving compensation for unrealized development rights.
Forest lands that contain important scenic, cultural, recreation and water resources, including fish and wildlife habitat and other ecological values, and that support traditional forest uses, will receive priority. Landowners who elect to participate in the program are required to follow a land management plan approved by the CSFS. Activities consistent with the management plan are permitted, including timber harvesting, grazing and recreation activities.
The Colorado State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee will evaluate proposals and recommend to the state forester those proposals that have sufficient merit to forward to the U.S. Forest Service. Forwarded proposals will then compete at a regional and national level for funding.
For additional information or to obtain an application packet, contact Carolyn Aspelin at (970) 491-1869 or carolyn.aspelin@colostate.edu.
Applications also are available online at http://csfs.colostate.edu/funding-assistance.
Upcoming event
Aug. 1-4: Archuleta County Fair. Do you quilt or sew, can vegetables or fruit, grow hay crops, veggies or flowers? Maybe you do leather or wood work? Possibly brew beer or make wine? Or, maybe you have a hidden crafting talent that you would like to share with us? If so, then you can enter the Archuleta County Fair Open Classes. Go to www.archuletacountyfair.com/exhibits-rules to find out how to enter.

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Noxious weed of the month: dyer’s woad http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/07/12/noxious-weed-of-the-month-dyers-woad/ Fri, 12 Jul 2019 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=172827 By Ethan Proud
SUN Columnist
Dyer’s woad is an A-list species with less than 10 known populations in Colorado. Depending on environmental conditions, it can act as an annual, a biennial or a perennial with a short lifespan. It reproduces by seed and can be pulled or cut down without worry of regrowth from the roots.
Currently, there are no reported populations within Archuleta County.
It produces 500 seeds which turn black and droop. It was introduced due to the blue dye produced from its leaves. Hence the name, dyer’s woad (woad is the name of the dye). It belongs in the mustard family (brassicaceae) and may be mistaken for similar plants such as yellow sweet clover, birdsrape, yellow allysum and many others.
The seed reserve for this plant means that treated areas must be monitored for 10 years after all standing plants have been eradicated. An A-list status means that it has been designated for eradication in Colorado. It has been found in pastures, rangelands, rights of way and forests.
If you believe you have spotted this plant, please contact Weed and Pest with a location and take pictures or samples.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.
Upcoming events
July 13: Archuleta County Annual Weed Tour.
Aug. 1-4: Archuleta County Fair. Do you quilt or sew, can vegetables or fruit, grow hay crops, veggies or flowers? Maybe you do leather or wood work? Possibly brew beer or make wine? Or, maybe you have a hidden crafting talent that you would like to share with us? If so, then you can enter the Archuleta County Fair Open Classes. Go to www.archuletacountyfair.com/exhibits-rules to find out how to enter.

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A little bit of snake knowledge goes a long way http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/07/05/a-little-bit-of-snake-knowledge-goes-a-long-way/ Fri, 05 Jul 2019 11:00:20 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=172226 Most people are pretty squeamish when it comes to snakes, yet snakes play an important role in our ecosystem. Rattlesnakes prey on rodents and, in turn, are prey to hawks, eagles, coyotes and other snakes. Rattlesnakes are a part of Colorado’s outdoors.
With our growing population, more and more people are hiking and running on trails where rattlesnakes may live. Did you know Colorado has 25 species of snakes? Only the prairie rattlesnake (crotalus viridis) and the massasauga (sistrurus catenatus) are venomous. According to the Colorado Herpetological Society, the prairie rattlesnake is found in all but 10 counties in Colorado up to an elevation of about 9,000 feet. The massasauga, on the other hand, is only found in the southeastern grasslands in Colorado.
The prairie rattlesnake and massasauga can be identified by a flat, broad triangular head and narrow neck, generally tan and brown patchwork and thick bodies, and can grow to 4 feet, with the average length of 2.5 feet.
Most people identify a rattlesnake by the rattle at the end of its tail. The rattle is made of modified scales, which can be broken off, malformed or silent. Therefore, this should not be the only form of identification. If the rattle is missing, the snake will have a blunt stub. Rattlesnakes do not have sharply pointed tails. Rattlesnakes may not always shake their rattle before striking.
If you encounter a rattlesnake, remain calm and still at first, then slowly move away. Leave the snake alone. Many people who are bitten by rattlesnakes were bitten as a result of trying to handle or kill the snake. Rattlesnakes are typically not aggressive, but will defend themselves if startled, cornered or stepped on. Wear long, loose pants and tall leather hiking boots, and use a hiking stick to sweep tall grasses you may be walking in. An added precaution is to wear snake guards in areas where rattlesnakes are known to live. Rattlesnakes have heat-sensitive facial pits they use to find prey. A word of caution: A dead rattlesnake, even if it has been beheaded, can still bite and inject venom because its heat sensory pits are active until rigor mortis is complete.
Rattlesnakes begin hibernation in October and November and resume activity in April or early May. During cool temperatures in the spring and fall, snakes can be found basking in the sun or on warm surfaces much of the day.
Rattlesnake deaths are very rare in Colorado. Prior to 2017, the last snake bite death was in 1999. When it comes to rattlesnakes, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way in identifying and understanding what to do to prepare yourself in the event you encounter a rattlesnake on the trail. To learn about discouraging snakes from moving into your yard or home, what to do in the event of a snake bite and their legal status, see CSU Extension fact sheet, “Coping With Snakes.”
Upcoming events
July 13: Archuleta County Annual Weed Tour.
Aug. 1-4: Archuleta County Fair. Do you quilt or sew, can vegetables or fruit, grow hay crops, veggies or flowers? Maybe you do leather or wood work? Possibly brew beer or make wine? Or, maybe you have a hidden crafting talent that you would like share with us? If so, then you can enter the Archuleta County Fair Open Classes. Go to www.archuletacountyfair.com/exhibits-rules to find out how to enter.
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 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.

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Canada thistle rust fungus as a biological control http://www.pagosasun.com/2019/07/02/canada-thistle-rust-fungus-as-a-biological-control/ Tue, 02 Jul 2019 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=171656 By Ethan Proud
PREVIEW Columnist
Puccinia punctiformis is an obligate fungal pathogen of Canada thistle and is better known as Canada thistle rust fungus. It is a naturally occurring fungus that can only grow on Canada thistle and cannot complete its life cycle on other plants, making it a very safe biological control. Some biocontrols have adapted post-release to feed on native plants and thus their distribution has been canceled.
The rust fungus is in its infant stages as a biological control release in Colorado and the inoculation protocol is still being refined. Experimental plots are being set up across the state with several in Archuleta County.
Last year, during the 2018 spray season, natural populations of the fungus were harvested and used to inoculate experimental plots. The rust fungus is most effective in areas that receive adequate moisture. The best results from experimental plots set up by the state cite complete control within three years, though not every plot will see those success rates.
Canada thistle rust fungus is easily identified in the spring when it shows up on young shoots as orange blobs called spermagonia. It has a sweet smell that can be detected when it is present in large quantities.
During this stage, the plant should be left alone so the spores can cross, which will give rise to aeciospores. Aeciospores coat the undersides of the leaves and spread throughout the late summer. They have an appearance similar to cocoa powder, but may be mistaken for lacebug frass.
Lacebug infestations may occur alongside rust fungus infections. Lacebugs also appear to have a detrimental effect on Canada thistle, but more observations will be necessary. Mowing Canada thistle while the fungus is in the aeciospore stage will aid in spore dispersal, but it is important to note that the fungus needs a living host and too aggressive of mowing may hinder its progress.
In the fall, teliospores form and infect new healthy plants. These spores can be observed affecting the underside of fall regrowth surrounding the shoots infected with the aeciospores. In the winter, basidiospores form on the roots when the plant is dormant.
The teliospores may be collected to inoculate new plants. Cut the infected shoots at the surface and allow them to dry for several days. Strip the leaves from the stem and either hand crush them or use a blender. Use gloves to do this as the spines are hard to dig out of your hands. The blended-up leaf and spore mixture may be spread on plants (about a tablespoon per plant) on new rosettes in the late fall. If dew is present, inoculate in the morning. Misting the plants at night and inoculating is an acceptable alternative if it is a drier year.
Rust fungus can be acquired from the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Request-a-Bug Program, though the spores are in short supply and there is a long waiting list. Contacting the Archuleta County Weed and Pest to be put on a list will increase the likelihood that you receive spores, though it is not guaranteed.
Biocontrols are part of the Archuleta County Weed and Pest’s Integrated Management Plan to reduce our dependency on herbicides to promote a healthy native environment.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.
Upcoming events
July 13: Archuleta County Annual Weed Tour.
Aug. 1-4: Archuleta County Fair. Do you quilt or sew, can vegetables or fruit, grow hay crops, veggies or flowers? Maybe you do leather or wood work? Possibly brew beer or make wine? Or, maybe you have a hidden crafting talent that you would like share with us? If so, then you can enter the Archuleta County Fair Open Classes. Go to www.archuletacountyfair.com/exhibits-rules to find out how to enter.
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 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.

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