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Invasive weed a growing concern

Perkins County Commissioners and Weed Superintendent Mike Dolezal are becoming increasingly concerned with the invasive weed of common mullein. 

Although not yet classified as a noxious weed by the county, the commissioners are contemplating doing so. 

Common mullein reproduces and spreads by seeds. A single plant can produce up 100,000-180,000 seeds per year that remain viable for more than 100 years. 

Seeds germinate in fall and form a basal rosette. During the second year of growth, the plants “bolt” and produce a flower stalk. Seed can be spread by wildlife, vehicles, construction equipment, livestock, forages, feed grains, soil and gravel.

Common mullein has an extensive fibrous and taproot system. The root system allows the plant to access soil moisture better than native plants, giving it a competitive advantage, especially during dry years.

Flowering usually occurs in June and July when single flower stalks packed with sulfur-yellow colored flowers bolt. 

Common mullein is adaptive to a wide range of environmental conditions, favoring disturbed sites. It is often found in rangeland, pastures, waste areas, roadsides and woodlands. It is unpalatable to livestock and has no feed value. Heavy stand of common mullein can reduce grass production up to 50%. 

Should commissioners declare common mullein a noxious weed, it will be the responsibility of the landowners to control it. The county will be responsible for road ditches. 

Those with comments or questions may contact a commissioner or attend a commissioner meeting, first and third Mondays, 8:30 a.m. at the courthouse.  

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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Grant NE 69140