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Call in if you’ve seen whitetop plants

Sally J. Taylor

Anyone who thinks they have spotted tall whitetop plants growing in the Tahoe Basin are asked to phone in location information on Saturday for “Weed Watch.”

The noxious weed has already inundated Washoe County stream zones, crowded out beneficial plants and is beginning to invade Tahoe Basin waterways, roadsides, gardens and lawns.

Weed Watch sightings will be taken from 9 to 11 a.m. In South Lake Tahoe call (530) 541-5654 and (702) 588-6943 in Stateline (702) 832-4150. On the North Shore, call (530) 546-5410 in the Tahoe City area and (702) 832-4150 in Incline Village.

Tall whitetop is particularly recognizable this time of year because of its full bloom of small white flowers on the entire top of the plant. The weed has bright green, blade-shaped leaves, and grows 1 to 6 feet tall.

Anyone spotting tall whitetop is asked to note the location and call volunteer Weed Warriors at the phone numbers listed above. Be prepared to give them a street address or the closest cross street. Cooperative Extension specialists are mapping weed infestations throughout the basin so they can be controlled before it’s too late.

Sue Donaldson, University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension water-quality specialist, urges residents to be on the alert for the outlaw weed in their own gardens. If found, property owners should report the location to the cooperative extension department and report back later on the effectiveness of eradication efforts.

Small areas can often be dug out, if care is taken to remove all pieces of rhizome. Seeds, shoots and roots should be disposed of in a sealed garbage bag.

Herbicide may be necessary as a last resort for large infestations. First remove plant debris and apply the herbicide directly to the plant when the wind is calm and no rain is expected. Authorities recommend 2, 4-D (found in Weed-B-Gone), which is effective and unlikely to impact stream zones.

Call (702) 832-4150 for advice on control or more information.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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