County asks you to purge your spurge
There’s a bounty on spurge in Garfield County, and it’s a good time to collect.
Until June 3, you can exchange a bag of myrtle or cypress spurge for a $20 voucher redeemable for landscape or garden plants at the Mountain Valley Greenhouse or Garfield County fairgrounds.
It’s part of an attempt to get ahead in the fight against noxious weeds that were originally introduced to the area as ornamental garden plants.
“Most weeds are invasive to agriculture or native ecosystems,” said Garfield County vegetation manager Steve Anthony. “Spurge is kind of unique in that it has the usual impacts, but it also has a milky, sappy latex and every year you run across situations where kids get into it and get rashes or rub it in their eye… It’s almost like having an ornamental poison ivy.”
It’s also quite common, and since it’s present in many jurisdictions, hard to combat from the governmental end. That’s why the county, in cooperation with Colorado State University, Mountain Valley Greenhouse, and several local conservation districts, is trying to encourage the community to take up the cause.
“It’s a slow process of increasing the awareness. The voucher is an incentive,” Anthony said. “Now is a great time with all of the moisture we have. It’s going to come up easier in the next couple of days.”
Spurge purgers are instructed to make sure to remove at least 4 inches of root, dispose of the plants in the trash, not the compost and use protective clothing.
“Long sleeves, long pants and gloves are key,” Anthony said. “Rubber or latex gloves are best.”
To prevent people from just pulling every succulent in their front yard, a team can help identify the specific spurges to purge.
“We just encourage people to call us if there’s question about it,” Anthony said. “We have some folks who can go out and identify it. Sometimes, we can do it with an emailed photo.”
For more information, help identifying the spurge or to obtain a voucher, contact Anthony at 945-1377 ext. 4305.
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