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County gets into weeding business

Lorna McDaniel

Spring is under way and with it comes gardening chores.

Larry Hughes of county weed control is well aware of the chore of weeding and has recently expanded the division to include spraying of non-noxious weeds.

The weed control division, dating back to the ’70s, provides a valuable service to county and public entities by spraying noxious weeds, which tend to spread rapidly.

Hughes, weed control supervisor, said noxious weeds are especially dangerous to crops because they are invasive and will take over existing plants.

Hoping to become self-sufficient from the county’s general fund, the expanded service can be used to attack those annoying persistent weeds such as dandelion and tumbleweed.

“Slowly but surely, we’re getting there,” he said of being weaned off county subsidy.

The program needs about $50,000 in revenue this year to become self-supporting, he said.

He said with the license in process now, he expects to start servicing non-noxious weed spraying requests beginning May 1.

Despite recent county employee staff reductions, Hughes was granted a request for two additional seasonal staff to help with the predicted increase in business.

He said the new positions are justified because business has increased steadily for the last few years and predicted even more because of the new service offered.

Hughes said Douglas County is lucky to have only seven noxious weeds. The weeds, which have blooms of various colors are: diffuse knapweed, whitetop, horary cress, yellow starthistle, Canada thistle, Russian knapweed and puncturevine.

“We lose a lot of bicycle tires to puncturevine,” he said of the thorny goathead seeds.

Prices for spraying are $40 per hour and 50 cents to $2 per gallon of herbicide.

The district will also rent and maintenance spraying equipment and sell herbicides in semi-bulk.

Hughes encourages anyone seeking more information on weed control to attend a weed meeting and slide presentation at 7 p.m. today at the agriculture extension office, 1325 Waterloo, Gardnerville.

Call 782-9835 for information.