Letters to the Editor

Progress made against tansy

We are coming to the end of the tansy ragwort season. Both Public Works personnel and private landowners have made some strong progress in controlling this toxic and invasive weed.

Over the years, tansy ragwort has been the cause of more livestock deaths in San Juan County than any other weed, so everybody’s hard work is greatly appreciated.

Tansy is best controlled by pulling the entire plant out of the ground, otherwise it will reflower. It is critical to remove the

flower heads before discarding the rest of the plant. These heads should be bagged and taken to the solid waste transfer station, where they may be disposed of at no charge. If the heads are left on the plant, the seeds will mature and re-infect the area which is being cleared. This is especially important along roadsides where the flower heads and developing seeds can be picked up by tires and dispersed over great distances.

For information on other methods of control for this and other noxious weeds, call the San Juan County Noxious Weed Control Program office at 376-3499.

Because of its threat to livestock, every effort needs to be made to keep this plant from spreading into pastures and hayfields or once there, to find and eradicate it. While horses and cattle will usually avoid the plant while it is green, they cannot distinguish the dried plant from the rest of the hay. The effects of the toxin are cumulative and causes irreversible liver damage and, ultimately, the death of the animal.

From the number of dead tansies that we are seeing along the county’s roadsides, it is obvious that a lot of people have been active in the tansy ragwort control effort. Many thanks to all of you!

Richard Lee
San Juan County Noxious Weed Control Program

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