Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mt. Rose Invasve Weed Removal Projects



As a result of the inventory/monitoring projects in Mt. Rose Wilderness, Friends and volunteers identified two sites along the Hunter Creek trail where an invasive weed had spread. The weed was Musk Thistle, a common invasive that grows between 4-6 feet tall.

The first infestation site took one project to successfully treat the area. The volunteers performed the work by lopping off the blooms of the weeds into large plastic bags. Each bloom of the Musk Thistle can produce 100 or more seeds. After collecting the blooms from each plant, the crew then pulled each plant by hand, including the short root system, to prevent further growth. Since the thistles simply wither up and die and cannot reproduce without the seeds from the blooms, the thorny stems were left away from the trail to die and only the blooms were bagged.

The second and larger infestation site spanned over three projects. This site covered the entire meadow located in the center of the north section of the wilderness area, which is about two to three acres. Although the entire site did not get finished before all the plants went to seed, the volunteers worked very hard and successfully removed hundreds of thistles over at least half the site.

A total of 8 volunteers participated in these weed removal projects and many trash bags full of thistle blooms were collected, representing thousands of seeds that would have spread and furthered the thistle infestation. Thanks to the hard work of these volunteers, Hunter Creek trail will no longer be covered by so many invasive weeds!

* There were a total of 97 volunteers hours recorded during these projects

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