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Noxious Weed Alert – Leafy Spurge

Leafy Spurge
Colorado Department of Agriculture
Leafy Spurge
Colorado Department of Agriculture

A weed is a weed… right?  Well, not exactly. The Colorado Department of Agriculture has identified 74 species of plants in the state that are designated as “noxious,” meaning they pose a threat to the state’s agricultural productivity, wildlife habitat and native plant communities. One of those noxious weeds is the Leafy Spurge. The entire plant contains white, milky sap that appears if you break a leaf. This sap can damage eyes and sensitive skin.

WHERE DO WE FIND IT?

Leafy spurge is widespread in Larimer, Jefferson, Douglas and Elbert counties, and is scattered elsewhere in smaller populations throughout the state.

HOW DO WE GET RID OF IT?

The root system of leafy spurge can be as deep at 30 feet into the soil; so, hand- pulling this plant is not a good option. Mowing will reduce seed production if repeated every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season, but will provide little long-term control.  Both sheep and goats can be effective grazers of leafy spurge and flea beetles from the Palisade Insectary are effective especially when combined with grazing and/or herbicides.

HOW TO GET HELP IF YOU HAVE IT

If you see this plant, please contact your county weed management program or the Colorado Department of Agriculture.   Find your county contact at colorado.gov/ag/coweedcontacts. You can also email CDA at Steve.Ryder@state.co.us.

Field with Leafy Spurge
Colorado Department of Agriculture

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