Noxious weeds take toll on land in county
The Skyline Cooperative Weed Management Area Committee met in Castle Dale recently to learn how to control Tamarisk and Russian olive trees and to see some of the newest invading weeds, specifically the ox-eye daisy. The meeting was in the form of a field trip to see locations where Tamarisk and Russian olive trees are growing and to see the ox-eye daisy which is causing problems. The group was led by Dennis Worwood the Extension Agent and Roger Barton the Coordinator for the San Rafael Conservation District.
The first demonstration for controlling Russian olive trees was held on the Ramal Jones property in Castle Dale. Worwood described some of the chemicals that can be used for a woody plant such as Russian olive, Siberian elm or Tamarisk. Worwood also gave a warning about the chemicals he was using. They are dangerous and anyone using them should read and carefully follow the instructions. He said with any woody plant, to kill the plant, you have to kill the root. Many people have cut down a tree and then have suckers, from the roots, growing up all around where the tree grew originally.
One method is the basal bark treatment where an herbicide is sprayed on the base of the tree and it will be absorbed and kill the roots of the tree. That is handy for Russian Olive trees, because the hardest thing about killing Russian olives is getting in close enough to the tree to kill it. Basal bark treatment can be used in a fence line or in a place where it isn't practical to push them over or cut the tree off with a saw. The basal bark treatment works on big and small trees.
If you cut the tree and do not treat the stump you will end up with a bush.
One of the chemicals used is Triclopyr a systemic, foliar herbicide in the pyridine group. It is used to control broadleaf weeds while leaving grasses and conifers unaffected. Triclopyr is unusually effective on woody plants and is used for brush control and defoliation of wooded areas. It is sold under the trade names Garlon Four or Element Four. Ace Hardware has a home owners package that contains Triclopyr as the active ingredient that can be used on clover in your lawn.
Worwood said, "We started about five years ago doing studies about which chemicals would work the best and how much chemical it took. We found out it doesn't take very much. Then we researched the best time of year for treating these plants. The basal bark treatment is for trees sized six inches in diameter or less. On bigger trees the bark is so thick the chemicals do not penetrate to the wood. For smaller trees and trees hard to get at like in a fence line the basal bark treatment is recommended. In basal bark treatment you spray all around the base of the tree if you can and up the trunk about 18 inches. According to the label I can do this any time of year. Most trees you can spray the foliage and the chemical will go down to the root. We found in the Russian olive you have to cover every branch with chemical. If you miss a limb it will stay alive. A disadvantage of foliar spraying is that your shooting a lot of chemical into the air and it lands on plants you do not want to harm.
"On bigger trees the frill cut method is recommended. The frills are made with a hatchet or axe deep enough for you to see wood. Then you put straight undiluted Roundup into the cut. From tests we found that as little as one cubic centimeter of Roundup per inch of trunk diameter would kill the tree. We tried several chemicals and found Roundup works as well as anything. Two 4-D works as well. But you are putting the chemical in straight, with no dilution," said Worwood.
James Nielsen said it is a two step operation to kill a Russianolive tree. Cutting the stump is one part of the operation and spraying the regrowth is the second. The above three to one mixture is the one they used in the cut stump treatment in the Buckhorn Draw.
The second stop on the tour was on the Lowry Creek water shed area North of Reeder Subdivision and at the Olsen Ranch. At that location Nielsen showed the group the ox-eye daisy infestation. There were only a few to be seen at this time of the year. Nielsen showed the group a photo of a jeep being driven across a field white with ox-eye daisy weeds. The ox-eye daisy is a pretty weed. It has white petals and a yellow center where hundreds of seeds come from. The ox-eye daisy is a very invasive weed. Nielsen said that when he was going to school the ox-eye daisy or field daisy was only found in the New England States, now it is found in many places in the West and we have too much of it in Utah. Cows do not normally eat the ox-eye daisy, but if they do it causes the milk to taste bitter. Most cows will not eat the grass next to the ox-eye daisy. The cows will avoid the part of the pasture that has ox-eye daisys. Nielson said, "We spent three days here spraying the Tordon chemical to eradicate the ox-eye daisy. A couple of weeks later the weeds looked healthy but Tordon goes down into the root and will, we expect, eventually kill the plant through the winter."
The ox-eye daisy is a category A on the noxious weed list. That means early detection and rapid response.
Worwood said, "A lot of our problem plants are brought in from other countries and when we do that we leave their natural enemies behind. For example the dandelion is not native, morning glory or bind weed is not native, ramarisk and Russian olive are not native plants. As these plants were brought in we left their natural enemies behind, both diseases and insects. The USDA has a branch that spends its time looking for natural enemies to some of these weeds and plants. Sixteen insects were found to eat the tamarisk. In parts of Asia you would have to spray for bugs to keep the tamarisk alive. The tamarisk leaf beetle does not eat anything but tamarisk."
Nielsen said, "With regard to Russian olive, we have made an effort to kill the Russian olives from where I-70 crosses the San Rafael. There is only one tree left, that we could not get to from I-70 up to Fullers Bottoms. There is a quick sand area there and we could not get to the tree. We hope to control Russian olive trees on private land as those trees keep putting out seeds that are carried about. We hope to make better progress on the private land in controlling Russian olives. Encourage your neighbors, do your own control. The county now has a new weed board and we will be getting some new guidelines. In the past the counties have had a program where they could make some chemical available for you to spray your own Russian olives."
Worwood talked about the Cows Eat Weeds Project on Horn Mountain, Trail Mountain, Olson's Canyon and Fish Creek. "We started out training the cows to eat weeds, such as the musk thistle. Musk thistle was harvested from some farm ground near Cleveland. Then we fed the cows grain for a few days and slowly introduced thistle into their feed. The cows accepted the weeds in the feed. The same was done with sheep.
"Once the animals had been taught to eat the weeds, they could be turned into pastures with the weed. If the animal's body reaction to the plant is negative they will avoid that plant. If the plant makes the animal sick they learn not to eat it. If the animal has a good reaction to the plant, they will eat that plant again. The musk thistle is about 20 percent protein. Because the musk thistle is so high in protein the animals want more. The weed was added to oats one time, to barley and corn one time, to hay cubes one time, beet pellets is another one we used. We fed them twice a day and a different grain each time.
"After the fourth day we started mixing the thistle in with the grain. We also used molasses mixed with water to sweeten it up. After a day of the mix we pulled the grain out and fed straight thistle for a couple of days. They would eat it as fast as we could give it to them. After a seven or eight day feeding we would put them on the forest right into the thistle patch. We then did the same thing with sheep," said Worwood.
The sheep ate the leaves off the musk thistle but not the stalk. This program has been fairly successful. In these studies, they found that a trained cow will train an untrained cow to eat the weed." said Worwood.
A great lunch was prepared for the group of about 30 people by Jay Mark Humphrey of the Emery Water Conservancy District and served at the pavilion on the West side of Joe's Valley Lake.
After the lunch, Barton thanked everyone for participating and he asked Nielsen to explain the CWMA.
Nielsen reported that all of the different land use agencies are included in a structural organization and work together on weed infestations. "Instead of drawing lines and saying these weeds are on your property. you do that or you do this to get rid of the weeds. Now we look at the infestation and draw a line around the infestation instead of property lines. We have organized a group called the Cooperative Weed Management Area. Anyone can join the organization if they have an interest in a weed problem in our geographical area. Our organization is called the Skyline Cooperative Weed Management Area. That takes in the area from the Skyline Drive to Green River. Also the South end of Emery County and through Carbon County. The great thing about the organization is the expertise and resources that are available in the CWMA. To anyone that has weed concerns they can join the CWMA which has an annual meeting in January. There we outline the projects for the coming year. We also have a public education project and put out a calendar each year. We are looking for photos of weeds for our calendar next year. In our meeting we discuss the impact that noxious weeds have on our economy. We meet monthly, and alternate meetings between Carbon and Emery counties. There are enough weeds out there for all of us. We continue to find ways to tackle these huge weed infestations along creeks and on private land. If you have a tamarisk, Russian olive or other noxious weed infestation call me at Emery Mosquito and Weed Control in Castle Dale," said Nielsen.