One of the duties of the EDRR Specialist is to travel around the state during the summer field season and help local entities get rid of their List A populations. This past week I traveled to Ridgway in Ouray County to help with the meadow knapweed spray event. Ron Mabry, the Ouray County Weed Manager, coordinates a group effort each year to help spray the noxious weed. Ron has been working on this site since its discovery five years ago, and we have already seen an incredible decrease in the infestation!
Meadow knapweed is one of five species in the knapweed genus (Centaurea) listed on Colorado’s Noxious Weed List. Three of these species are on the A List (meadow and squarrose knapweed, along with yellow starthistle), and two are List B species (diffuse and spotted knapweed). Meadow knapweed is a perennial that prefers moist roadsides and meadows, river banks, and forest openings. The three populations in Colorado are between 6,000 and 9,000 feet elevation.
Meadow knapweed in bloom. Leaves are up to 6 inch long and 1 inch wide and decrease in size as they move up the stem. The lower leaves are toothed or lobed and the upper leaves are linear.
(photo courtesy of Kelly Uhing)
Meadow knapweed flowers are purple to pinkish in color and can bloom from May to August. The bracts are brown with a fringed margin.
(photo courtesy Eric Coombs, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture)
This year’s event happened this past Tuesday, July 24th. Ron invited local, state, and federal agencies to participate, and all levels of government were represented. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sent 2 people, I was there from the State Department of Agriculture, three county weed crews helped out, and the private ranch where the infestation occurs sent their team as well. In total there were 14 people spraying herbicide, along with Ron who was coordinating efforts in the three locations on the ranch where the infestation is the worst. Herbicides used were aminopyralid (the active ingredient in Milestone), and 2, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (better known as 2, 4-D).
Melissa Werkmeister, Mesa County’s new Weed Manager, serves herself lunch from the amazing buffet prepared by Ron Mabry and Mary.
After a morning of spraying meadow knapweed, the crew enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by Ron and his helper Mary. There was pulled pork and coleslaw, deviled eggs, pasta and cucumber salad, chips and dips, fresh cherries, and sweet tea to drink. In addition, Mary had mad both a pineapple upside-down cake and a mocha cream tiramisu-style dessert. Everything was delicious!
Ron Mabry enjoys making delicious food in appreciation of the group’s efforts, and he jokes that it’s also a way to keep people coming back each year! This was the fifth year in a row that the event had taken place, and each year has had at least this many people helping out.
Spray crews from the J-M Ranch, the BLM, Mesa County, Montrose County, and the CDA helped with the Ridgway meadow knapweed last Tuesday. Ron Mabry, the Ouray County Weed Manager and organizer of the event is sixth from the right, in the brown shirt and tan ball cap. Ron would like to let everyone know that he is very appreciative of their help!