THE OGDEN VALLEY NEWS Volume II, Issue XI Page 15 1 June 2000 Valley Residents Encouraged to Do Their Part in Eradicating Dyers Woad Compiled by Shanna Francis Ogden Valley News Staff Spring is so beautiful in the Valley, especially with all of those beautiful Close-up of Dyers Woad. tall, yellow flowers blanketing many fields, greeting those who drive by at the edge of the road ways, and cropping up in patches of turned over soil here and there . . . and there, and there, and there! No, I’m not talking about dandelions, but Dyers Woad. Though the noxious weed may look lovely to some, its presence is an economic nightmare for others. A non-native plant, Dyers Woad comes from the Old World. It was originally cultivated for its leaves that produce a blue dye (this is where the word “dyers” came from). According to information obtained form the USU Extension Office, “Dyers Woad . . . is a serious problem in the northern most counties along the Wasatch range. In Cache, Box Elder, and Rich Counties alone it has been estimated that two million dollars a year are lost in reduced crop yields and range production. The number of acres infested is increasing at an alarming rate and has doubled in the last ten years.” Property owners can do their part to eradicate the plant and to prevent its rapid spread by destroying the hardy plants before they go to seed in the summer. According to the Extension Service, “Dyers Woad can be con- trolled effectively by rogueing or hand pulling. This is especially true in areas that are just now being invaded or where plants are scattered. Simply cutting them off probably won’t do the job as the plant has the ability to send out A field of Dyers Woad in Eden. new shoots if it is cut off near the ground. It is important to pull the plants before they go to seed. The importance of hand rogueing cannot be overemphasized. It is one sure way of guaranteeing 100 percent control in an area. Rogueing needs to be done, however, two to three times each year for two to three years.” Dyers Woad can also be controlled through cultivation. Be persistent and don’t give up on pulling out the yellow flowering weed whenever you come upon the dastardly mustard. After being pulled, the weed can be left on the ground, unless it has already formed the black looking seeds. In this case, the seeds must be collected and destroyed in order to prevent further spreading. Since the eradication of Dyers Woad is a matter of economic survival for many, Valley residents are encouraged to do their part to prevent the spread of the noxious weed. Please remove, or have sprayed, all Dyers Woad from your property and along the roadside in front of your property before the weed goes to seed this month. For more information, contact the Utah State University Extension Office at (801) 627-3270. The Wetland and Migratory Bird Connection Contributed by Mark Hadley and Frank Hal, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Spring is an excellent time to view birds as they stop by in Utah during migratory flights that will take many of them to areas far to the north. Migratory birds congregate in large flocks this time of year as they migrate, allowing bird watchers the opportunity to view birds that they normally don’t have the chance to see during the rest of the year. Birds are migrating together because there is safety for them in the numbers, but when it comes time to breed they will split up into pairs and become territorial. So now is a good time to see many birds together, as birds will migrate in mixed species flocks so you can be in one spot and see several types of species. Another good reason to watch for birds this time of year, the birds are in their breeding plumage so they’re the most colorful this time of the year—more than at any other time. This is very nice aesthetically because the birds are so colorful. When in their breeding plumage, the birds look the way they do in the field guides so it’s usually much easier to identify them. Marshlands and woods along streams are great places to view birds in the spring. Many areas along the Great Salt Lake are also great areas to watch for birds as they migrate. Large numbers of shore birds come through—large numbers of water fowl and, again, all in their breeding plumage so they’re nice to look at. Riparian areas and streamside woods are excellent places to see songbirds. The best piece of equipment you can have when viewing birds is a good pair of binoculars. It’s up to the individual to determine what a good pair of binoculars are because you can spend anywhere from $50 to about $1000 on a pair. But a good pair is really helpful when trying to identify different bird species. The best time of day to view birds is usually first thing in the morning, right around sunrise. Then again when the birds begin their flight again in the evening. They will be congregating, eating a lot then, and taking off again. Another important thing to have is a good bird field guide for identifying birds. There are several good guides on the market such as the Peterson Field Guide, National Geographic Field Guide, and the Stokes Field Guide. A good field guide will cost between $15 and $25. It is also important to keep in mind that you don’t want to disturb migrating birds too much when they are rest- ing because it is a very stressful period of time for them. The birds are flying during the evening, and then they have to spend all day refueling again. So any time you get too close, and make the whole flock of birds move, you are disturbing their time that they should be spending resting and feeding. Be careful not to approach too closely. Approach slowly and don’t invade their space. You will be able to tell when they start getting nervous. This is a signal that you are too close, and you should back off a bit. The importance of wetlands to migratory birds led Governor Michael Leavitt to proclaim May as Migratory Bird and Wetlands month in Utah. May is an important time for birds. The birds are going to be migrating this time of year, and wetlands are the most important type of habitat for birds in the state—particularly for migratory birds. When you think of wetlands you usually think of duck marshes, but wetlands also include areas such as streamside woods or riparian habitat. Between the duck marsh type of habitat and the riparian type of habitat, you have more different species of birds using those habitats than in any other type of habitat in the state. About 75% of our bird species will use one or the other of these types of wetland habitat at some time or other during their life. Thus there is a great connection between migrating birds and wetlands.