Invasive Species Management
Protecting natural resources
The Jefferson County Invasive Species Management program helps protect natural resources through education and outreach. We assist the public by developing integrated management plans to control forest insect pests and noxious weeds. The program coordinates with private entities and local, state, and federal governmental agencies to achieve regional pest control.
This site includes information to help identify, control and prevent forest pests and noxious weed infestations. Our goal is to educate the public about weed and pest problems and offer solutions.
2020 Noxious Weed Awareness Campaign
Myrtle spurge is a List A noxious weed commonly found in the urban and foothill areas of Colorado. Initially sold as a xeriscape plant, this perennial of the spurge family, has escaped and naturalized in many areas including some remote and rugged areas.
Myrtle spurge shows up in early spring at lower elevations and begins to flower in March-April.
Grey-green leaves are fleshy, egg-shaped, and attach directly to the stem at their base. Stems are stout and trail along the ground. Leaves and stems contain a sticky, caustic sap that can cause severe rashes and blistering.
The inconspicuous flowers are surrounded by chartreuse bracts and develop at the ends of the stems. When the seeds ripen, they are expelled from their capsule and are covered in a sticky gel that adheres the seeds to surfaces and passing animals.
Landowners are encouraged to start looking for this plant in mid-February. It can be pulled as long as you remove the top few inches of the taproot. Herbicides also work well. The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s website has factsheets detailing control methods.
What You Can Do
• Let your neighbors know if you see Myrtle spurge in your neighborhood.
• Organize a neighborhood weed-pull. To protect your skin from the caustic sap, wear long sleeves and rubber gloves if you are hand pulling.
• Make sure all parts of the plant are disposed of properly. Place in bags, securely close the tops, dispose of in the trash. Do not compost.
• Continue to monitor your sites. Myrtle spurge seeds may last for eight years in the soil. You will need to manage new plants before they spread.
Together we can make a difference!
NEW - Colorado’s Noxious Weed Awareness Campaign
2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Noxious Weed Law. Jeffco Invasive Species Management is a partner in COLORADO’s NOXIOUS WEED AWARENESS CAMPAIGN. See a sneak peak of our first video HERE