Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Debbie Davenport grabbed the stem of the stubborn scentless chamomile and pulled firmly, plucking the plant out by the root. The weed is a prolific seed producer and has claimed Barker Meadow, along the reservoir, as its home.
The past wet year has created conditions in which the scentless chamomile seeds are spread by drifting snow, run-off, and birds. They germinate easily in moist disturbed soil. Each plant can produce up to 10,000 or 20,000 seeds.
Scentless chamomile looks like ox-eye daisy, especially the yellow button-centered white flowers, but the carrot-like leaves are distinctive. Small patches should be dug up, getting up all the roots and bagging them to be burned or dumped in a landfill.
On Saturday morning, a group of teens and volunteers gathered at the reservoir lakefront and began the arduous task of pulling the weeds. They also pulled musk thistle, which typically grows in meadows and grasslands. It spreads rapidly in sunny, moderately dry conditions. The musk thistle may pop up anytime from spring to late summer and will produce a multi-branched flowering stem in mid spring of their second year. They can grow close to five feet tall and have a purple flower that is picturesque in large bunches but is extremely invasive, the seeds remaining viable in the soil for 10 years.
The weed pull was organized by TEENS, Inc. Youth Corps Director Jonathan Baumhover. At least 12 people showed up to rid the Barker meadow of the hard-to-control weeds.
There will be another noxious weed pull on July 11 at Chipeta Park; July 25 at the Rink/Tennis court, and on August 15 at Barker Meadow again. All of the events are from 9 a.m. until noon and are followed by a potluck lunch.