History of Costilla County Weed Program
The Costilla County Board of Commissioners adopted the Costilla County Noxious Weed Management Plan in 2006 for all unincorporated lands within the county. Despite the passage of the plan in 2006 there have been limited coordinated efforts within the county to eradicate and manage noxious weeds until the past few years. Within the last two years Costilla County has made a concentrated effort to launch a sustainable weed management program by licensing a staff member to be a Certified Operator for pesticide application and purchasing equipment necessary to carry-out such activities.
Lucas Casias, Licensed Certified Operator
Lucas Casias obtained his Pesticide Applicator License through the Colorado Department of Agriculture in May of 2012 and Lucas has been designated as the County’s Noxious Weed Coordinator
Why does Costilla County need a Noxious Weed Program?
Certain noxious weeds constitute a real threat to the economic and environmental values of the land within Costilla County. Biodiversity, ecosystem stability and farmland productivity are threatened by noxious weeds. Noxious weeds alter soil properties, the composition of plant communities and change the structure of animal communities. Noxious weeds negatively impact livestock forage, crop production and reduce crop yields. This is critical because the county's oldest and strongest industry is agriculture. Because of the abilities of these weeds to spread rapidly by a variety of means and the proclivity in seed production, an explosion in their population is quite possible without attention.
Black henbane is an annual plant that germinates, flowers, seeds, and dies during one growing season or a biennial plant that germinates in one growing season, then flowers, seeds, and dies during a second plant that grows up to 3 feet tall. The entire plant is covered with greasy hairs. Leaves are up to 8 inches long and 6 inches wide, shallow lobed cut into a leaf from the edge toward the center; greater than toothed, but not quite compound, and heavy scented. Flowers are borne on spikes narrow, non-spreading inflorescence form the leaf axils from May until September. They are showy, 5 lobed, up to 2 inches across, and greenish-yellow in color with deep purple veins and throats. The calyx, the outermost flower leaves (sepals) together, often green in color forms a 1-inch, urn-shaped "fruit" that has a thickened lid that pops off at maturity and spills the black seeds.