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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Noxious weed report outlines the county's effort

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

By Charlene Sims

MOUND CITY – Linn County Public Works Director Shaun West updated the commissioners on the Noxious Weed department’s activities on Monday, Aug. 14.

West reported that a little more than $28,000 of the $30,000 cost share budget has been spent. He said that two larger cost shares for late season spraying should be coming in soon and he will close out that program for this year.

West presented information from Noxious Weed Director Johnny Taylor about spraying this year. He said that a lot of concern had been expressed about mowing but also about Johnson grass.

The county's noxious weed director post had been a revolving door for a couple of years until Taylor was hired to take over the department in 2021. He was not certified at the time, but attended required training to receive that certification in March 2022.

In his message, Taylor wanted to explain that broadleaf weeds are sprayed April through July. Johnson grass is sprayed late in the summer as growth is at its height.

Taylor’s message explained that the regular mowing of Johnson grass depletes its carbohydrate reserves in the rhizomes. Overtime, it helps limit the spread and also has rapid growth in the summer months. Mowing controls shoot development.

West continued from Taylor’s report that herbicides are used to control grassy areas. Johnson grass is established by seed and you do not control Johnson grass only by spraying.

West reported that the mowing in the early part of the season prohibits the growth and the visibility issues that we have. Then it is sprayed later in the summer. For the most part, this goes along with the weed control plan that the commission signed off on.

West said, not only is it a part of our plan but it’s the most effective use of our chemicals.

West told the commissioners that it seemed that most of the complaints that noxious weed has received this summer have been about the mowing in the south district. The county had no part-time mowers available during the summer there – there were two empty positions.

Commissioner Jason Hightower said that it was also a big problem in the north district.

West went on to explain that Johnson grass requires spot spraying for localized infestations because if it is sprayed like broadleaf in a whole ditch for two miles, you will kill everything and then you start to get erosion issues.

West said that Taylor wanted everyone to know that the plan for controlling Johnson grass early on is the mowing and then the spot spraying during the height of the growth to control the new year’s growth.

West said that the mass spraying of the county’s right of ways would do more damage than good.

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