Weed season is upon us

Photo courtesy CSU Extension
Black henbane has yet to be reported in Archuleta County, but is present in Colorado, and is considered a noxious weed. Flowers are five-petaled, yellow or creamy brown colored, with purple veins. Henbane belongs in the Solanaceae family and is highly poisonous.

Weed season is upon us.
For the next several months, you will see articles written by our county weed and pest manager, Ethan Proud, about weeds and how to control them. Noxious weeds are a problem for landowners because they can displace native vegetation, can be harmful to livestock and even change the soil composition, making it impossible for anything else to grow.
Please learn what these plants are and how to control them.
Noxious weed of the month: Black henbane
Black henbane has yet to be reported in Archuleta County, but is present in Colorado.
It is a List B species and reproduces only by seed and exhibits a biennial growth pattern (rosette first year, flowers and dies in the second year). Each plant can produce up to 500,000 seeds, which are viable in the soil for as many as five years.
Flowers are five-petaled, yellow or creamy brown colored, with purple veins. After going to fruit, the plant dies and all that remains is a “skeleton” of stems lined with pods that drop seeds. Whether controlling henbane with chemical or mechanical means (pulling the plants is a very effective control method), dead plants should always be bagged and burned or disposed of at a landfill.
Henbane belongs in the Solanaceae family and is highly poisonous containing the alkaloids hyoscamine, hyoscine and atropine, which are responsible for the traditional image of a witch riding a broom.
Henbane has a foul, pungent odor and is rarely eaten by animals, but when consumed, it is fatal. Handling the plant without gloves may result in the compounds being absorbed through the skin and poisoning through absorption. When controlling black henbane, it is important to always wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid dermal exposure.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests. For further information, please contact the Weed and Pest Department at 264-6773.
Extension open house
On April 17, CSU Extension will host an open house. Come meet the CSU Extension director, Robin Young. and learn what Extension has to offer.
The open house will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Extension office, located at 344 U.S. 84 (at the fairgrounds).
Seed potato orders
Orders are now being taken for Colorado-certified seed potatoes from the San Luis Valley. There are red, white, blue and pink varieties for $1 per pound.
They will be ready to pick up May 9-11. Please call the CSU Extension office to place your order.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are now being 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 April 6, 2018.