Waging the War on Weeds

Monday, April 7, 2014

Invasive and noxious weeds in Arizona are more than just pesky plants – they are downright destructive.

"We've got all the really nasty weeds in Arizona," said Larry Howery, noxious weeds/range management specialist with the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension. "Everybody should be concerned. The economic and ecological impacts are tremendous."

Howery said some non-native plants were introduced as ornamentals, like fountain grass and twisted barrel. Others – like buffelgrass – were introduced as food for livestock. Whether it is buffelgrass, camelthorn, toadflaxes, purple loosestrife, leafy spurge or another type of invader, these weeds threaten agriculture, wildlife and human health by ruining highways and making great fuel for wildfires.

To support weed abatement, Howery and a team of invasive plant experts from across the Western U.S. teach a short course in Southwestern noxious/invasive weeds to land managers from public and private agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Over three days, participants learn plant identification and are given the tools to control weeds through herbicides, machinery and biological tactics, such as the introduction of different types of livestock and insects that consume weeds. Included in the course is a field trip through parts of New Mexico and Colorado.

In recognition of the 100-year anniversary of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension, UA News is spotlighting a series of programs that UA employees, students and volunteers facilitate around the state. Read the rest of this Cooperative Extension story at the link below.

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