What Can Citizens do to Help?
Don't Plant Invasive Weeds
Be selective when you choose plants for home landscaping. Some invasive plants, such as purple loosestrife varieties, are still sold in nurseries and garden shops, so beware! If you plant these in your yard, they may escape into nearby natural areas and become a problem by displacing native species. Not all non-native plants are invasive. There are many beautiful horticultural plants available for you to choose from, without contributing to the noxious or invasive weed problem. Also consider planting native species in your home garden. Natives offer a good choice for home landscaping because they are well adapted to local conditions and often thrive with less care than required by many non-native plants. Native plant gardening also enhances the value of your yard for local wildlife including birds and butterflies.
Remove Invasive Weeds
Be on the lookout for noxious or invasive weeds and remove or report them whenever possible. You may have invasive plants already growing in your backyard. Birds and other animals may eat the seeds of these plants and then travel to nearby uninfested lands, resulting in the spread of noxious weeds. You can help stop these invasions by removing the source plants. Talk to your neighbors about the problem and share your concerns. Report sightings on public lands to the land manager. And if you do remove these plants from your own land, be sure not to spread the seeds when disposing of them.
Help Prevent the Accidental Spread of Noxious Weeds
When you venture into natural areas, roadsides, or any place with noxious weeds, be aware that you could be introducing or carrying invasive weeds inadvertently. Check your shoes, socks, clothing, etc., which might carry seeds. Another important thing you can do is to try to limit soil disturbances, if possible, on your property. Noxious weeds thrive on disturbance and can quickly colonize areas which don’t have a good vegetative cover. If noxious weeds are moving in, try to control them before they get well established and the area is infested.
Educate Yourself & Spread the Word
Become better informed about how to identify noxious and invasive weeds, how to avoid spreading them, and how to control them. The battle to control noxious weeds cannot be won without public awareness and support. Then share what you have learned so that others can join in the war on weeds!
Here are some groups and agencies that can provide further information or assistance on noxious weeds:
- Hardin County Roadside Vegetation Manager/Weed Commissioner - 641-939-8263
- University of Northern Iowa Tallgrass Prairie Center - 319-273-3836
- Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship - 515-281-5321
- Natural Resource Conservation Service - 319-337-2322
- Iowa Department of Transportation - 515-233-7729
- Iowa State University (Agronomy) - 515-294-1923
- The Nature Conservancy - 515-244-5044