A serious and growing problem in the West is the
invasion of aggressive, non-native plant species, commonly called noxious
weeds. Noxious weed infestations degrade native plant communities (which
provide valuable food and shelter for wildlife) and contribute to a loss of
agriculture productivity. They also greatly disrupt the recreational enjoyment
of our natural resources and have serious economical impacts associated with
Noxious weeds are undesirable, exotic plant
species that are detrimental to natural lands, wildlife habitat and the human
uses of these resources. Noxious refers to the species' aggressive behavior,
which damages native plant communities or economic crops. Because these
species are outside their natural range, they no longer have predation. This
allows them to adapt very successfully to our environment and gives them an
advantage over native species. Noxious weeds outcompete native plants for food,
space, light and nutrients and over time form unproductive monocultures that can
not support the diverse wildlife the native species could support.
Noxious weeds enter our ecosystems by
hitchhiking on people, animals, water, wind or vehicles. Weeds are also
introduced by unsuspecting gardeners, hikers' shoelaces, pet fur, cars and
equipment and as stowaways on planes, boats and even in luggage. There are many ways you can help prevent the spread of noxious weeds:
entering or leaving a park, check your shoelaces, vehicles, bikes and pets for
Clean your gear and prevent a noxious weed infestation from getting
established in new places.
If you love to garden, plant native species! We
have many beautiful native wildflowers in Colorado that create breathtaking
Learn more about how you can help by visiting our Invasive Species Program pages.
Stewardship and Park Staff are hard at work
controlling noxious weeds at every park and attempting to prevent new
infestations from taking over. Prevention is key and we must always be on the
look out for new invaders. Rapid response is our best defense!
For specific species information, please see our
Profiles. For more noxious weed information, please see Links to other resources.
How are weeds
weed control methods are specific to the species and area being controlled. An integrated management plan utilizing all tools available is the most
effective way to successfully control weeds. Control methods
Education and Prevention
Cultural: Materials or techniques, such as
mulching or establishing good native communities, to control weeds
Mechanical: Mowing, Hand-Pulling, Mechanical
Biological: Using organisms such as insects to
Chemical: Using herbicides (according to their label) to control weeds
Stewardship team to receive a copy of our Creating an Integrated Weed
Management Guide today! Also visit our Weed
BMPs for more information.