Don’t Let it Loose: Be a Responsible Pet Owner
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Plantwise: Alternatives For Your Garden
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Clean, Drain, Dry Your Boat & Equipment
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Buy It Where You Burn It: Don’t Move Firewood
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Play, Clean, Go: Protect Our Outdoors
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  • Don’t Let it Loose: Be a Responsible Pet Owner
  • Plantwise: Alternatives For Your Garden
  • Clean, Drain, Dry Your Boat & Equipment
  • Buy It Where You Burn It: Don’t Move Firewood
  • Play, Clean, Go: Protect Our Outdoors

INVADER OF THE MONTH

  • Leafy spurge is a long-lived perennial that was introduced as either an ornamental or crop seed contaminant in the early 1800’s. It reproduces primarily by re-sprouting from its extensive, persistent, creeping root system, but also by seed. Leafy spurge roots can extend 4.5 m laterally and about 9 m deep. Leafy spurge forms dense stands over times and a large plant can produce up to 130,000 seeds. All parts of the plant contain a milky coloured latex that can poison livestock and cause skin irritation on humans. Cypress spurge is very similar in appearance, but leafy spurge is taller, has longer leaves, and less branching in the upper part of the plant.
  • Stems are arranged in clumps, smooth and hairless, grow up to 1m tall and contain a milky latex. Leaves are numerous and attached directly to the stem, arranged alternately or sometimes spirally. The leaves are up to 7 cm long, narrow, waxy, have smooth edges and are bluish-green in color, turning yellowish or reddish-orange in late summer. Flowers are small, yellowish green, lack both petals and sepals, and are supported by 2 green, heart-shaped, leaf-like bracts, arranged in numerous small clusters. Seeds are about 2mm, smooth, oblong, light gray to dark brown in color and grow in pods on top of the bracts. When mature the dried seed pods explode, distributing seed as far as 5 m from the parent plant.
  • Native to much of Europe and Asia, it is adapted to a wide variety of site conditions. It grows on a range of soil types and tolerates very dry to very wet climates, but does require some warmth for good growth. Seasonal flooding of riparian infestations can distribute seed long distances.
  • It reproduces primarily by re-sprouting from its extensive, persistent, creeping root system, but also by seed. Leafy spurge roots can extend 4.5 m laterally and about 9 m deep. Leafy spurge forms dense stands over times and a large plant can produce up to 130,000 seeds.
  • Producers should exercise caution when using hay from road ditches and when purchasing hay from known infested areas. Use weed seed free hay, isolate animals for a week that were in an infested area so that all the seeds can go through the animals body, wash the under carriage of vehicles in a commercial area making sure all seedlings; stems; flowers; etc. are washed down the drain, and don’t get soil or gravel from an area infested with leafy spurge. Leafy spurge is extremely resilient and a combination of control methods will be necessary to achieve significant control.