BY ANDREA WALTON
Rush skeletonweed is a perennial whose branched stems may be 4 feet tall and appear leafless. The lower 4 to 6 inches of the stems are covered with coarse brown hairs. The dandelion-like rosettes, that form in the fall, die as the plant ages. When the plant is cut or broken, it oozes a milky white latex sap.
Rush skeletonweed was first reported in the U.S., near Spokane, Wash., in 1938. It was found in Idaho and Oregon during the 1960s.
This weed thrives in well-drained, sandy textured or rocky soils, along roadsides, in rangelands, pastures and grain fields.
Small yellow flowers begin in early summer and continue until frost in the fall. Seeds mature nine to 15 days after the flowers open. Each seed has a parachute of fine hairs, which allow it to travel long distances by wind. Rush skeletonweed spreads primarily by seed, but rosettes can form from lateral roots at varying distances from the parent plant.
Skeletonweed is difficult to control. It will be necessary to use a number of different control methods.
Warnings about noxious weeds may seem trivial until you look at their damages based on numbers: $300 million annually in losses to our economy; $20 million to fight noxious weeds on the ground; and more than 8 million acres of land and water infested by noxious weeds. (Resource: www.idahoweedawareness.org).
Noxious weeds are a serious matter and you can help us fight them. The Blaine County Noxious Weed Department, along with the Blaine County Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA), would like to assist you in identifying the 67 noxious weeds in the state of Idaho.
The Blaine County Noxious Weed Department is a great resource for property owners (remember, property owners are obligated by law to control all noxious weeds on their property) and can assist with weed identification, management plans, tools, and general information. For more information, call (208) 788-5543 or visit www.blainecounty.org.
Andrea Walton is an administrative specialist with Blaine County.