Noxious Weeds

Much of our effort at FENW is directed at reversing the ongoing "loved to death" deterioration caused by human visitors. There is, unfortunately, another player - one that won't listen to reason, whose sole design is to take over the wilderness, destroying in the process much of the treasure we are trying to protect. And right now this insidious aggressor is gaining ground, figuratively and literally. 
The enemy is weeds - noxious, aggressive, invasive weeds, which crowd out a variety of valuable native plant species, simultaneously negatively impacting the native fauna.
FENW has been battling this invasion since 2007. Hundreds of volunteers have contributed nearly six-thousand hours in weed eradication efforts. Combined with multi-year financial contributions (especially from the National Forest Foundation Ski Area Conservation Fund) totalling nearly one-hundred thousand dollars to hire certified mule outfitters to spray wilderness hot spots, the total value of FENW efforts approaches two-hundred thousand dollars. 
After all these years, we want to declare MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! ... but we cannot. Those devils leave their seeds in the ground, and these can lie dormant for years before sprouting. The battle must be enjoined annually. 
FENW, which led the assault for five years, several years ago turned over the management of the process to Summit County. They are sponsoring several activities, including weed workshops to inform landowners. Click here for more information. Also, Eagles Nest Property Homeowners Association (ENPHA) has an active weeding program, thanks to the continuing efforts of resident John Taylor. Their website is here.
Background: Inspired by the tireless efforts of John Taylor, FENW led a three-pronged attack on noxious weeds:
1. Pulling for Colorado: FENW volunteers have participated throughout the Eagles Nest Wilderness area and its surrounds in pulling noxious weeds. An annual P4C Day brings out the army of volunteers, always with room for more.
2. Mules: For nearly a decade, FENW has received annual grant support of up to $10,000 from the National Forest Foundation (NFF) Ski Area Conservation Fund to hire a licensed contractor with mules to spot spray noxious weeds in remote areas of the National Forest and Eagles Nest and Ptarmigan Wildernesses.
3. Backpacks: When no mules are on hand, human volunteers sport hefty backpacks to spray trailheads, lower density areas, and hard to reach areas in both Summit and Eagle Counties. They have logged and slogged for more than 200 hours in the project.

Noxious Weed Success! 
Get them before they spread, keep them out of our National Forest & Wilderness Areas 
Frequently asked questions!
What is a noxious weed? 
Non-native, invades and is detrimental to native plant communities. Can create a mono culture. 
Why should we be concerned? 
These weeds threaten valuable wildlife habitat, natural resources, and cause economic hardship. They often escape urban areas and migrate into national forests and wilderness areas unrestrained. 
How can noxious weeds be controlled? 
Dependent on the weed some may be mowed, pulled, dug, biological agents, and herbicides etc. Noxious weeds spread by seeds, roots, or both. One Musk Thistle can produce 20,000 seeds that can remain viable for up to 10 years. Canada Thistle and Yellow Toadflax spread primarily by root. Unfortunately for the later two, pulling and digging may take years to entirely eliminate. Spot spraying carefully with an appropriate herbicide is the most effective.	
What are annuals, biennials and perennials? 
- Annuals are plants that live only one year and propagate solely from seed. 
- Biennials are plants that live two years. For Musk Thistle, the first year is a rosette which is flat on the ground. The second year it shoots up a stalk (bolts) which flowers and produces seeds. 
- Perennials are plants that comes back yearly and generally spreads by roots as well as seeds. 
Are backpack sprayers with free chemicals still available from the Summit County Weed Program? 
YES. Contact Ben Pleimann (668-4218) for details and scheduling. Backpacks complete with appropriate chemicals are free and proper usage instruction as well is provided. Usage is relegated to the urban areas, which is so important in keeping them out of our forests. Help us out!
What noxious weeds might we expect to find here?
Chamomile annual; spring/early summer: pull, mow, but collect seed heads and dispose in the garbage. 
Oxeye Daisy	perennial; early summer to mid-summer to bloom: dig, dig, dig, suggest you spot spray. 
Musk Thistle biennial; first year is a rosette laying flat on the ground, learn to recognize and dig just below the surface. Second year, it bolts and sends up a singular stalk with secondary stalks each with a single head(s). Dig just under the surface, collect any mature heads and dispose in garbage. Can also spot spray, collect heads. 
Mullein	biennial; called the campers friend for its soft velvety leaves. You can figure the rest. Like the musk the first year is a non flower rosette laying flat on the ground. The second and last year it bolts and sends up a stalk with small yellow flowers. Is a prolific seed producer. Treat the same as the musk. 
Canada Thistle perennial; three fourths of the plant is in the root system, you can’t pull or dig successfully. Spot spray in spring or fall is most effective. Canada Thistle loves moisture. If you see one plant, there will probably be a more! Look carefully. Canada Thistle loves wet areas. 
Yellow Toadflax perennial; very aggressive, gives off a substance which inhibits any growth beneath, becomes a mono-culture quickly. Cannot pull or dig effectively, recommend spraying when in bloom in September. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments feel free to call me (John Taylor) at (970) 262-5940 or email Help us conquer this menace!
Preventions (from CSU extension service)
Cultural: Establishing and managing an adequate population of desirable vegetation to compete with the weeds.
Mechanical: Hand-pull, hoe, mow and tillage.
Biological: Biological weed control involves the utilization of natural enemies for the control of specific weed species. Likely not 100% effective method of control, and can take many years for success. An example is introduction of registered insects or diseases.
Chemical: Weed control with herbicides is an effective tool for many target weed species. However, there are several aspects to consider when choosing a chemical program. These include: ID of target weed; herbicide selection; timing of application; desirable crops or plant species near control areas; the number of applications per year, and the number of years for treatment.