Noxious and Invasive Plants
Nevada has many noxious and invasive weeds that occur throughout the state. Most of these weeds came from regions that have a compatible climate with Nevada such as eastern Europe and western Asia. Many were introduced by humans, both accidently and intentionally. For instance, cheatgrass is believed to have arrived in the west as a wheat seed contaminant. Salt cedar or tamarisk was planted along streams for erosion control and purple loosestrife was planted in gardens because of its pretty purple flowers.
Noxious and invasive weeds are more competitive than native plants. Tall whitetop, for example, produces thousands of seeds each year. Some of these seeds can survive in soil seedbanks for up to ten years. In addition, tall whitetop can reproduce plants from its rhizomes which are underground stems with buds, and its roots can reach 20 feet deep. Cheatgrass seeds germinate in the fall and grow to maturity in very early spring without competition from other plants. In addition, it reproduces rapidly following a fire before other native plants can reestablish. Once established, weeds can spread in many ways: by humans, birds, livestock, wind, or by hitchhiking on vehicles.
Noxious and invasive weeds have economic impacts because they are expensive to control and they can reduce agricultural production, property values, and water availability. Prevention is the most effective treatment for noxious and invasive weeds.
Don’t let noxious and invasive weeds become established. Here are some things you can do to help: