Lincoln County Weed and Pest extends project of payments for pulling dyer’s woad July 11-14th
Lincoln County Weed and Pest Supervisor Travis Osmond says the department is extending the project where it pays the community for pulling dyer’s woad with another week July 11-14th.
He says they had a great turnout last week for the project and usually that covers it, but not this time around.
“I don’t know what has happened this year,” Osmond said. “On a normal year the kids go out, we pay them $.50 a pound, they bring it in.
“We got kids making hundreds and hundreds of dollars, but despite all of that and all the work our own crews our doing, we’re losing the battle this year.”
He says despite being supervisor for ten years, he has never seen a season quite like this. He acknowledges people in Europe and Asia, where it is native, have used the weed for a dye. The reason this is so noxious according to the supervisor is it alters the soil.
He says it can come in on a tire, atv, cattle, or anything of that nature. It will germinate and the first year it becomes a little flower and then the second year it grows into a big, yellow bush.
“That is capable of producing up to 20,000 seeds per plant,” Osmond said. “Then below ground it is exuding this chemical.”
He says those seeds can be dormant for up to 20 years. He also says what you eventually find is no other plant can grow in or around the weeds.
“Now we have nothing that’s growing there,” Osmond said. “None of our native grasses, our native forbs, none of that is growing there except for dyer’s woad.”
He says herbicides are effective, but the window to do so is very small. So, the best method to rid these weeds is by pulling. That is why they work with the community and mostly high school kids to come out and pull the plant and pay them $.50 per pound.
“We’ve actually seen a decrease in Lincoln County until this year,” Osmond said. “These kids, they work their guts out.”
This year it is so bad though, they are opening it up to anybody.
“That’s how desperate we are to not turn into Utah or southern Idaho,” Osmond said.
He also says if the problem is not worked on that Star Valley could look like those places within two to three years. According Osmond the pounds add up quick. You can spend 2-4 hours pulling and easily get a couple hundred dollars.
“If we don’t do it this year, we will lose control of this plant,” Osmond said. “We are at the cusp of that.”
He says one important thing is to try and control this weed on “our own properties”. He says even if your neighbor has some, give the department a call and it will send someone out to talk with them.
“You can’t rely on these kids,” Osmond said. “You’ve got to go out and take care of the problems on your own property.”
He understands that some elderly or those with physical limitations cannot do this work. He says reach out to the department and they will gladly come assist. He also says you can pick up bags at the department locations in Afton and Cokeville.