Invasive weeds are a problem for almost every landowner. As invasive weeds spread and dominate new areas, they displace desirable plants on our farms, in our forests, and in our yards. The negative effects of weeds can include increased erosion, reduced crop yields, increased maintenance costs, reduced plant diversity in natural areas, increased fire hazard, and less food for wildlife. In some cases, weeds can limit the use of property and reduce property values. Invasive weeds are estimated to cost billions of dollars in damage every year. Some weeds, like Himalayan blackberry, are already so out of control that it is difficult to imagine eradicating them. Others are still at levels where control is possible. Better yet, if we all keep our eyes open, we can stop new weeds from invading.
A weed is generally defined as a plant that is a nuisance, a hazard, or causes injury to people, animals, a desired ecosystem, or crops. Invasive weeds are those that spread into areas where they are not native. Noxious weeds have been legally designated as pests, for example by a county, state, or federal agency.
Containing the Spread
Weeds that have invaded a section of your property already can be very difficult to control. One thing to keep in mind is that you are not managing the invasive weeds. You are managing your land for your particular objectives; be it to produce crops, raise livestock, for recreation, or for timber. Since it is difficult if not impossible to control every weed, first identify and prioritize species and infestations that threaten what you want to do with your property.