Spreading the news like a noxious weed
On Thursday, Douglas County commissioners will hear a presentation about an old foe with a new name.
Perennial pepperweed, better known as tall whitetop, has been a problem for Carson Valley for decades, but Valley ranchers are no strangers to the effects of noxious weeds.
There are 16 noxious weeds in Douglas County, a vegetative rogue’s gallery, that include poisonous, rapacious and just plain nasty species that have found new homes in North America.
In the case of pepperweed, it was a transplant from Eurasia, believed to have arrived in a shipment of seeds during the 1940s.
That it has spread so quickly is a testament to its hardiness. Pity we can’t eat it.
According to authorities, we also can’t kill it by digging, tilling or burning. That leaves poisoning it.
Like many invasive weeds, pepperweed does its damage by replacing plants we need for livestock forage or habitat for wildlife.
Like any weed, if you let it grow, it will take over and will be difficult to clear out.
That’s why when officials of Nevada’s Department of Agriculture saw a lot of pepperweed growing, they took a page from the weeds’ book to spread information.
Let’s hope the information about perennial pepperweed, leafy spurge, spotted knapweed, yellow starthistle and their ilk takes root and spreads faster than they do.