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James: Keep an eye out for invasive weeds


There is an unwelcome newcomer in Fountain Hills. Disguising itself as a spring wildflower and producing those pretty little yellow balls, it won't be quite so pretty after it completely takes over our residential yards, open spaces and desert.

Whether you know it as stinknet, stinkweed or globe chamomile, this noxious weed migrated from South Africa as a floral ornamental and is now spreading rapidly in Arizona and the Valley. Allowed to multiply unchecked, it quickly creates large dense patches crowding out all other plants. Stinknet proliferates very densely, with up to six seedlings per square inch. 

It is easily recognized this time of year by its carrot plant-shaped leaves, round bright yellow blossoms and in concentrations, a pungent, turpentine-like odor. Now is the best time to try and control it before the plant turns brown and the blossoms turn to seed. In small patches, they can be pulled and bagged for disposal. Because it is both a skin and respiratory allergenic, you might want gloves and a mask as a precautionary. Please bag it for proper disposal

University of California Weed Science suggests "Milestone, Capstone and Glyphosate are all highly effective at controlling stinknet, but only before the plants have flowered. Often if herbicides are applied after flowering, stinknet can finish flowering before the herbicides have killed the plant."

We can all do our part by keeping an eye out on our walks and hikes and pulling it when seen. Slipping a plastic grocery bag in your pocket or pack would be a great way to ensure proper disposal when you get home.

For more information, see Southwest Vegetation Management Association, swvma.org

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at AzOpinions@iniusa.org.