Noxious weed infestations down due to drought

YORK – It’s a good thing when the county’s weed superintendent says noxious weed infestations in the last year were down.

But it’s not necessarily the best news when the cause was due to an ongoing drought situation.

Mitch Huxoll, the county’s weed superintendent, presented his annual report to the county commissioners during their May 16 meeting.

Huxoll said “a lot of infestation occurrence in the county went down last year, but it was due to drought, so that drop in occurrence is sort of misleading. But everyone is doing a good job of keeping up on their noxious weeds. That’s been a good thing, people are taking care of their properties.”

Huxoll said he sent out 36 notices to landowners last year.

“Right now, I’m doing inspections and spraying ditches, and I did a lot of spraying last year,” Huxoll said.

Commissioner Woody Ziegler noted he is aware what certain noxious weeds look like, but wasn’t well versed on all of them. Huxoll said he could provide some educational material for the board, in order for members to better understand which have been designated as noxious by the state.

There is a long list of plants that have been designated as noxious in Nebraska, including: Bohemian knotweed, Canada thistle, giant knotweed, diffuse knapweed, leafy spurge, musk thistle, purple loosestrife, reed, saltcedar, spiny plumeless knapweed, tamarisk and Hybrid Japanese knotweed.

It is the legal responsibility of the county weed superintendent to notify landowners when noxious weeds have been identified on their properties. It is the landowners’ responsibility to treat the plants or face ramifications if they are ignored.

The county treats noxious weeds that are found in road ditches and in public right-of-way.

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