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County's most wanted weeds

WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County's SWCD office is working with its counterparts in Stearns and Pope counties and the Nature Conservancy to control invasive plants that threaten the integrity of prairie and conservation lands and cause economic harm to agriculture. The program is aimed to control all types of invasive plants, but it is especially targeting these five "most wanted" species.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

Wild Parsnip is slow to establish itself but once a patch is established it can spread quickly and thrive in a variety of wet and dry habitats. The juice of the plant can cause blistering, rash and discoloration when exposed to skin and sunlight.

Knapweed is a serious problem in pasture areas. It is poisonous to other plants and is particularly a threat to dry prairie and oak areas.

Purple loosestrife is a bane to wetlands, in which it can spread quickly. It crowds out native plants and provides no food, cover or nesting value to waterfowl, amphibians or reptiles.

Common tansy is widely dispersed and a problem for pastures as the plant is distasteful and even toxic to some grazing animals.

Leafy spurge invades roadsides and pastures and is very widespread, and the deep-rooted plant is difficult to control. Minnesota Department of Agriculture considers it a prohibited noxious weed.