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Noxious Weeds

Noxious weeds are moving into our local ecosystems and displacing native plants. When the plants used by animals as food, shelter or nesting are gone, wildlife could leave the area. Additionally, some weed species drop over 1,000 seeds into the ground annually, if not controlled. As good stewards of our land, we all must work to keep our lands free of noxious weeds.

  • Mechanical control: removing seed heads by hand, mowing or pulling entire plants out from the root.
  • Cultural controls: regularly overseeding with native plant seeds to encourage desired plant regeneration and discourage noxious invaders.
  • Biological control: releasing beneficial insects that feed only on certain noxious weeds and well-managed grazing practices that target specific plants.
  • Prevention: planting weed-free seed, mulching with weed-free material, cleaning machinery before mowing between sites, and controlling weeds prior to their making seed
  • Chemical Control: judicious and minimal use of herbicides can complement other control methods to provide a very effective noxious weed management program

Above all, proper noxious weed identification, monitoring and consistent, diverse control methods can reduce or eradicate infestations. This varied approach to weed management is called integrated pest management, or IPM. We support the IPM approach to weed control within our municipal borders.

The Plan

The Colorado Noxious Weed Act directs municipalities to adopt a weed management plan and weed advisory committee. We adopted our first weed management plan in 2012. We also work in partnership with San Miguel County controlling weeds along our roadways and right of ways.

We have the duty and power to manage noxious weeds in the community. Our Public Works Department oversees local weed control efforts and advises Town Council on local weed control matters. This includes the right to enter private lands to inspect for the existence of noxious weed infestation. When noxious weeds are found on private property, the landowner or property occupant will be notified. After notification, the landowner or occupant of the property has 10 days to comply with the terms of the notification or submit a plan and schedule to destroy, remove and control the weeds. For more information regarding weed management in Mountain Village, please contact our plaza services manager.

What Do These Weeds Look Like?

To help identify these weeds and simplify the differences between invasive weeds and native plants, including the look-a-likes, handy guides are available at Town Hall. You can also refer to the short descriptions and images on this page.

Yellow Toadflax

Yellow toadflax is a pretty, flowering perennial resembling snapdragons, and it reproduces by both roots and seeds, so once it invades it can quickly dominate and become hard to control. Persistent hand pulling or digging can effectively eliminate this plant when found in small patches. Just be sure to remove as much of the root system as possible and pull the plant prior to it going to seed.

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye daisy, a member of the sunflower family, is tempting to plant in your garden because it establishes quickly. But this plant is so invasive that it has been declared illegal in seed mixes and gardens in San Miguel County: one plant produces thousands of seeds in a season making this one of the most prolific weeds in town. The key to neutralizing oxeye daisy is finding and removing it early. Hand pulling and digging helps, but be sure to pull up all the roots and bag after removing so the tiny seeds aren’t scattered inadvertently.

Another important fact to note: oxeye daisies are frequently confused with their fairer, non-invasive cousin the Shasta daisy. Shasta daisies are typically taller, have broader smoother-edged leaves and larger flowers. So make sure you are pulling the correct plant and that your landscaping or seed mix is the right type.

Canada Thistle

Canada thistle is one weed that you won’t miss on your property with its large saw-toothed leaves and spiny purple flowers. This creeping perennial is prolific, producing up to 1,500 seeds per shoot. The blow-away thistle seeds can be transported long distances by water, clothing, vehicles and by attaching to animal fur. The seeds remain viable for up to 22 years! Seed dispersal and germination are not the only way thistle spreads: new shoots and roots can form anywhere along its root system. Mowing and weed-whacking are effective tools when performed continuously throughout the growing season, and so is clipping and bagging the seed heads (to prevent seeds from blowing onto your neighbor’s property). If you are pulling thistle, be sure to remove the entire root and wear thick gardening gloves as the leaves are exceptionally prickly.


Houndstongue is a small biennial weed that grows close to the ground and produces reddish-purple flowers and has sharply pointed leaves covered with fuzzy, soft white hairs. Houndstongue reproduces by Velcro-like seeds that are easily transported by animals, clothing and machinery. A mature plant can produce 2,000 seeds that are then dispersed by their new hosts to distances far and near. The key to effective control of Houndstongue is preventing the plant’s establishment and seed production.

Houndstongue has crept onto many properties along Adams Ranch Road, likely from migrating elk and deer.

Related Documents:

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Hoary Cress (Whitetop)

This information courtesy of the Colorado Natural Areas Program.


Other Names

Heart-podded hoary cress, pepperweed, whitetop


Legal Status

Colorado Noxious Weed List B



Growth form


Numerous white flowers with four petals, give the plant a white, flat-topped appearance. May-June.


Seed capsules are heart shaped, and contain two reddish-brown seeds.


Leaves are alternate, 1.6-4 in long, blue green, and lance-shaped. Lower leaves are stalked, while the upper leaves have two lobes clasping the stem.


Mature hoary cress plants are up to two ft tall with erect stems.


Roots are rhizomatous and usually occur at depth of 29-32 inches, but have been recorded to penetrate to a depth of 30 ft in the Pacific Northwest (FEIS 1998).


No information available.

Similar Species


Two other closely related species Cardaria pubescens and Cardaria chalapa are designated as noxious weeds in some states (Sheley and Stivers 1999).




Hoary cress is generally considered unpalatable to livestock.


Hoary cress is invading rangelands throughout North America. It is a highly competitive weed once it becomes established. Hoary cress spreads primarily by extremely persistent roots and will eventually eliminate desirable vegetation and become a monoculture.

Habitat and Distribution

General requirements

Hoary cress is typically found on generally open, unshaded, disturbed ground. Hoary cress grows well on alkaline soils that are wet in late spring and generally does better in areas with moderate amounts of rainfall. It is widespread in fields, waste places, meadows, pastures, croplands, and along roadsides (FEIS 1998). Hoary cress is commonly found in saltcedar (Tamarix spp.), antelope bitterbrush / rough fescue (Purshia tridentata / Festuca scabrella), antelope bitterbrush / bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp.), and Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) communities (FEIS 1998).


It is widespread in the United States except along the southern boundary of the western and south-central states (USDA 1971). In Colorado, hoary cress is commonly found at elevations of 3,500 to 8,500 feet.


Hoary cress is a weed of Eurasian origin.



The root system of hoary cress consists of vertical and lateral roots from which new rosettes and flowering shoots arise (Mulligan and Findlay 1974). Plants emerge in very early spring. The first leaves appear aboveground 5 to 6 weeks after planting (Mulligan and Findlay 1974, FEIS 1998). During this period, the first leaves emerge and form a loose rosette (Mulligan and Findlay 1974, FEIS 1998). Stems arise from the center of each rosette in late April (FEIS 1998). Plants flower from May to June, are self-incompatible, and are pollinated by insects. Hoary cress plants set seed by mid-summer (Whitson et al. 1996). If conditions are favorable, a second crop of seeds can be produced in the fall (Sheley and Stivers 1999).

Mode of reproduction

Reproduces both by seeds and vegetatively. Hoary cress spreads vigorously by creeping roots (FEIS 1998). Within three weeks of germination, a seedling root can begin producing buds (FEIS 1998). One plant can eventually result in a large colony and push out other vegetation to form a monoculture.

Seed production

One plant can produce from 1,200-4,800 seeds.

Seed bank

84% of seed produced are viable the first season (Mulligan and Findlay 1974, FEIS 1998). Buried seeds can remain viable for three years in the soil (Sheley and Stivers 1999).