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Weed FAQS

How does the County respond to weed issues on private property?
Foreclosed properties and weeds, what to do?
Can mowing help when the seeds are flying off the thistle plants?
When do I spray?
How often do I release beneficial insects?
Should I buy insects?
How much herbicide do I put in my 25 gallon ATV sprayer?

How does the County respond to weed issues on private property?
Annually we send out an informational letter to new residents/real estate transactions about weeds being a problem in many areas of the county, inviting them to visit our website, and review their property for weeds.   If a complaint comes in we act as if they haven’t had any education on the weed issues in their neighborhood and send an informational letter inviting them to contact us for a free consultation.    Then we will send a warning letter of impending legal proceedings to force treatment to occur if no compliance has occurred.

Foreclosed properties and weeds, what to do?
We are consulting with the attorney’s office to work through this, but we are going to start consulting with the Assessor’s to find the lien holders to address the issue.

Can mowing help when the seeds are flying off the thistle plants?
It will reduce the seeds that fly beyond the patches, but you must clean the mower deck and tractor so you do not move seeds elsewhere.

When do I spray?
It varies from plant species to plant species, but all the current problem weeds in Douglas County can be sprayed in September/October because they either are perennial (leafy spurge, the toadflaxes, and Canada thistle) or biennial meaning they sprout this year and flower next year.    The advantage of fall spraying is the plants are stockpiling sugars to survive the winter.  The herbicides go deeper into the roots of the perennials and which in many cases promotes a more complete kill.   For general weed control in addition to noxious weed treatments, spring is a better time.  Usually the last half of May is good depending on when the snow melts and what the temperatures have done and if the plants are actively growing again.  Sometimes the month of June is better.    Again the spring is more growth stage critical by plant species.  Call us for specifics!

How often do I release beneficial insects?
For leafy spurge, it has been observed that the flea beetles will establish in about 3 years.  But only a third of the time will they go to town on controlling the weeds.    If they have not established after 3 years, try a different type (e.g.: if your first release was the brown flea beetles, try black ones)   Sometimes you need a different type of insect.  Sandy soils do not work well with flea beetles.   Unfortunately there are not insects for all weeds, so if you have multiple weeds and there are no insects that work on your weed (e.g.: Canada thistle)  you could trade one weed for another if you rely on insects alone.   Also you should have at least 1acre of the specific weed for an insect release to have a chance of success!

Should I buy insects?
Until recently there was no charge from the Colorado Dept of Agriculture for insects, when they were available.  Now there is a shipping and handling fee.  In the past I would say, wait for free ones from the state of Colorado, but due to budget cuts, free is a thing of the past.   Be aware that the insects may decide that the weeds look tastier on the other side of the property line.  So they may or may not eat your weeds.    You are still responsible for the control of the weeds on your property.  Again insects work at best 1/3 of the time.  Herbicides work 80 -100% on most weeds.

How much herbicide do I put in my 25 gallon ATV sprayer?
No matter how big or small a tank you are using, the sprayer must be calibrated!   Many of the newer herbicides can kill grass if over applied.  The speed of the vehicle must be consistent, the tip size and spacing varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the pressure must also be known.  Call us with your specific numbers!   If you are using a hand wand, backpack or hand can sprayer you need to do the following:

Backpack / Hand wand Calibration Simplified

Backpack/Hand Can Process

Step 1: Establish a calibration plot that is exactly  18.5’x18.5’ square. Fill the sprayer to fill line with water.
Step 2: Spray the area as if you were spraying a herbicide.  Refill the sprayer with a measuring cup and record # of ounces it takes to reach the fill line.
Step 3: The ounces collected equals the gallons per acre that you are applying.
Step 4:  The volume of the tank divided by the gallons per acre equals the amount  of an acre that you can cover in one fill.
Step 5:  From the herbicide label determine amount per acre  of concentrate to be applied.
Step 6: Calculate the amount of herbicide to add to one full tank by multiplying  step 4 x step 5.

Hand Wand Process

Step 1: Establish a calibration plot that is exactly  18.5’x18.5’ square. Fill the sprayer to fill line with water.
Step 2: Time yourself as you spray the area as if you were spraying a herbicide.  Spray into a bucket for the same amount of time. Measure the water in the bucket with a measuring cup and record # of ounces it takes.
Step 3: The ounces collected equals the gallons per acre that you are applying.
Step 4:  The volume of the tank divided by the gallons per acre equals the amount  of an acre that you can cover in one fill.
Step 5:  From the herbicide label determine amount per acre  of concentrate to be applied.
Step 6: Calculate the amount of herbicide to add to one full tank by multiplying  step 4 x step 5

For example: it took 64 ounces to refill your sprayer.  (Step 2) This means you are applying 64 gallons per acre. (Step 3)

Your backpack holds 4 gallons, so divide 4

By 64 = .0625 acres/tank. (step4)

You want to spray Milestone herbicide on Canada thistle at 7oz/acre. (Step 5)

.0625 x 7 = .4375 ounces/backpack

(1 fluid ounce = 6 teaspoons) .4375 x 6 = almost 2.5tsp.  Add this amount of Milestone to your backpack to spray Canada thistle.

 For example: it took 30 seconds to spray the square.  (Step 1) Then you sprayed into the bucket for 30 seconds.  You measure the amount collected and got 64 ounces this means you are applying 64 gallons per acre. (Step 3)

Your backpack holds 5 gallons, so divide 5

By 64 = .078125 acres/tank. (step4)

You want to spray Plateau herbicide on Leafy spurge at 12 oz/acre. (Step 5)

.078125 x 12 = .9375 ounces/backpack

(1 fluid ounce = 6 teaspoons) .9375 x 6 = almost 5.5tsp.  Add this amount of Plateau to your backpack to spray leafy spurge.

Call us and we can walk you through it.

An experienced back pack spray operator can cover .1 acres per tank, which weighs 35-50 pounds full.

If simple algebra frightens you, call a contractor, especially if you have more than 1/2 an acre of weeds.