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Utah's 18 Most Noxious Weeds - What Are They?

Bermuda Grass | Bindweed (Morning Glory) | Broadleaved Peppergrass
Canada Thistle | Dyer's Woad | Johnson Grass | Leafy Spurge | Musk Thistle
Quackgrass | Russian Knapweed | Scotch Thistle | Whitetop
Squarrose Knapweed | Diffuse Knapweed | Yellow Starthistle
Medusahead Rye | Spotted Knapweed | Purple Loosestrife

Noxious Weeds spoil things for the vast majority of us! They can render sports and recreation sites useless and destroy the businesses that serve them. Weeds harm public health, crops, livestock, and the land. Many of the items on your grocery list have damages or loss from noxious weeds already added into the price you pay at the register. Even with this said, our goal to bring you to a better understanding of the impact that weeds have is made more difficult by the size of the problem. Millions of acres of anything, especially weeds, are like millions of miles of ocean. It's not easy to wrap our reasoning around such large figures. Even so, the fact remains that our land IS infested with weeds ... millions and millions of acres of weeds. There are thousands upon thousands of acres of thistles, knapweeds, bindweed, woad, and noxious grasses here in Northern Utah alone!

One key to understanding the serious nature of noxious weeds it this ... most of these weeds DO NOT fit in our world. By definition, a weed is simply a plant out of place. For instance, a rose in a field of corn IS a weed. Most noxious weed species are not a part of our historical, natural eco-system. With few exceptions, they are not utilized as forage nor as habitat. Noxious weeds are an introduced blight on our lands. Although most are not native to the Western United States, they are highly adaptive and thrive here. It is of note that many of these weeds were introduced by our pioneer ancestors who unknowingly utilized contaminated hay or grain as they settled in the West. Regardless of the method of introduction, noxious weeds are here and they are spreading even today.

We encourage you to expand your knowledge about noxious weeds. Visit our local Extension Agent, Ag Inspector, park ranger or federal land manager about specific weed problems in the area. Use these pages as a continuing reference and focal point. Our natural resource heritage depends on your involvement!