By Ethan Proud
While noxious weeds such as musk and Canada thistle get much more recognition, it is the invaders on the cusp of a full-blown infestation that need more awareness.
Houndstongue (cyonoglossum officinale) is one such species that can become a major problem in pastures and grazing allotments. While not appearing to be palatable to livestock, houndstongue is poisonous and may cause liver damage, especially in horses.
Seed dispersal is achieved by small seed-carrying burs or nutlets that have small Velcro-like hooks that stick to passing animals. Each plant can produce 2,000 seeds — when a herd of cattle passes through a stand of houndstongue, those seeds are now dispersed to every corner of that rancher’s property.
Houndstongue can be identified by its small, red, five-petaled flowers and broad leaves with deep venation that does not touch the leaf margins. The leaves are a blue-gray color and, in the first year, the plant forms a rosette and only flowers in its second year.
This biennial life cycle makes controlling houndstongue without chemical means very achievable. By digging rosettes (either the entire plant or severing the root 4 inches beneath the crown), and chopping and bagging flowers and seeds, all standing plants can be removed while reducing the reproductive success to zero. Mowing thick stands before plants flower several times in the spring can also be effective, but plants may flower at the height at which they are mowed.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the Colorado State University Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 pm. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.
Noxious weed of the month: Houndstongue
By Ethan Proud