HOAs and invasive species

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By Ethan Proud | PREVIEW Columnist

Homeowners associations (HOAs): some people love them and some people — not so much. Regardless of anyone’s perceptions of them, their primary goal is to protect property values. 

Property value seems to be a weird topic to bring up while talking about invasive species and land stewardship, but noxious weeds decrease property values. While hopefully it isn’t your singular reason for managing the invasive plants on your property, it can be a major motivator. So, where do HOAs come into play in invasive species management? Some HOAs in Archuleta County take a strong stance on the matter and provide value to their residents by either directing people to the Weed and Pest Office, buying herbicide for landowners to use, paying for treatment from dues, organizing weed-pull days or by enforcing noncompliant owners.

The first step for an HOA to take in choosing how to better serve its residents and community is to find out what weeds are present in the subdivision and find the pulse of the people. If the majority of residents are against using herbicides, organizing a weed-pull or setting up biological control plots will be much more beneficial. If the residents are open to the use of herbicides, find out whether they need help finding a local contractor or where to purchase herbicides for those DIY landowners.

Enforcement is the least appealing option in any case; it can be a useful last resort. Prior to enforcement, education can often be the best policy. Most landowners are not aware of the issue of noxious weeds and an informative flyer can spur them into action. 

In the case of thistles, it’s easy to encourage someone to remove the prickly plant from their yard. With yellow toadflax, a beautiful escaped ornamental, it can be a little more difficult. When people learn the cons of the yellow snapdragon look-alike and the damage it causes in our natural areas and to wildlife, the decision to manage becomes much easier.

So, where does the Archuleta County Weed and Pest Department come into all this? We offer assistance with all aspects of weed management including property inspections, weed management plan synthesis, herbicide sales, contracted services, seasonal biological control sales and advice on the proper way to remove species without herbicides. 

It’s important to note that pulling annual and biennial species like musk thistle is a great management technique, but pulling Canada thistle will encourage root growth unless done persistently over many years. If your HOA is interested in taking the first step and getting an inventory of invasive plants, assign a weed ambassador to reach out to the Weed and Pest Department for a property inspection. The results can be shared with the entire HOA and future steps can be decided then. 

4-H Flash Sale

4-H soup mixes will be on sale Friday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $5 each at the Extension office. These dried soup mixes are a great time saver. Most are gluten-free and delicious. With flavors like chicken and rice, tortilla soup and corn chowder and more, it’s easy to support Archuleta County 4-H.

Hunting mushrooms

Come learn about the etiquette of mushroom hunting and other great tips May 4 at 6 p.m. at the Extension office. 

Countywide yard sale

There will be a countywide yard sale on May 28. You can reserve a space for $50 indoors or out at the Extension building at the fairgrounds. Call (970) 264-5931 for more information and to register. 

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are offered every other month from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid, and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. Call the Extension office at (970) 264-5931 to register.

Visit online

Visit us on the Web at https://archuleta.extension.colostate.edu/ or like us on Facebook and get more information: https://www.facebook.com/CSUARCHCTY.