Eagle County weed of the week
Vail CO, Colorado
This escaped garden perennial, once sold under the trade name “Butter and Eggs” is currently in bloom around Eagle County. Its highly invasive manner is devastating native ecosystems and is very difficult to control.
– Produces an attractive yellow snapdragon-like flower with a deep orange center in late summer.
– The single stems grow 1 to 2 feet tall with alternate linear leaves that are blue-green or green.
– Forms dense colonies with an extensive root system that steals water and nutrients from native plants.
– Contains a poisonous glycoside that is harmful to livestock and wildlife.
– Can inhabit roadsides, meadows, pastures and enjoys sun or shade, and tolerates hot, dry conditions.
– Several factors make this plant extremely difficult to control. The extensive root system has small “hairs” on them, that if left in the soil can produce new plants.
– There has been some effectiveness with hand pulling, but you must be persistent and consistent, keeping in mind that it will take years of pulling to deplete the root system of energy.
– The most effective way to control Yellow Toadflax is with an approved herbicide. When using herbicides always read and follow the label. Contacting a licensed applicator is the best option for controlling this plant.
– A waxy layer on the plant reduces the effectiveness of early herbicide application. However, applying herbicide after the first frost will increase the likelihood of killing the plant.
– Maintaining healthy native plant communities is the best way to prevent the establishment of both plants. Yellow toadflax can quickly invade disturbed areas so proper revegetation is critical to controlling this plant as well as other noxious weed species.
– The native golden banner is a spring bloomer that is great in larger areas. Snapdragons, yellow columbine, and native sunflowers make good substitutes. Really, anything is better than this plant.
For more information on these plants and the Weed Management Programs in Eagle County visit http://www.eaglecounty.us/weed or http://www.vailgov.com/weeds. Or call the Eagle County Weed and Pest Department, 970-328-3540, the Town of Vail Department of Public Works 970-479-2158, or the Eagle County Extension Office 970-328-8630.