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Johnson County helps fight noxious weeds

If you think weeds are aggravating, you should have James Hoge’s assignment. He is the noxious weed director for the Johnson County Department of Public Works and Infrastructure. His main duties are to control, manage, and eradicate noxious weeds that have infested thousands of acres in mostly rural areas of the county.

On Thursday, February 18, the Johnson County Board of Commissioners approved the 2017 Annual Noxious Weed Management Plan as submitted by Brian Pietig, director of Public Works, on behalf of Hoge, who was unable to attend the meeting. Hoge identified four primary noxious weeds in Johnson County that infect approximately 18,750 acres, including both public and private land. Most of the infestation involves acreage, approximately 17,800 acres, on private lands.

Also on Thursday, Pietig provided Hoge’s 2015 Annual Noxious Weed Eradication Progress Report to the Board for formal review and official approval. Both documents are available online at http://lims.jocogov.org as part of the meeting agenda information for February 18.

The two documents provide a scorecard of weed control efforts over the past year and a game plan in tackling weed infestation in the 2017 management plan.

According to the reports, musk thistle infested almost 10,200 acres in 2015. Other infested acreage included:

  • Johnsongrass, 6,730 acres;
  • Sericea lespedeza, 1,446 acres; and,
  • field bindweed, 377 acres.

In the report, Hoge estimates that approximately 13,400 acres of the land infested with noxious weeds were treated last year. That was an increase of 15 percent from 2014. The noxious weeds in Johnson County are four of the 14 noxious weeds now identified by the Kansas Legislature. The state began identifying and eradicating certain prevalent noxious weeds under a law passed in 1937.

The county’s Noxious Weed Program operates out of the Public Works complex at 1800 West 56 Highway, Olathe. It includes selling herbicide-controlling chemicals, such as Roundup, 2-4 D, and Tordon 22K, to residents of Johnson County solely for use on land in the county. The products can only be purchased for noxious weed control. Hoge reported sales increased by 6 percent to more than $54,531 in 2015.

The Noxious Weed Office is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information about the Noxious Weed Program is available on the Public Works website at http://www.jocogov.org/dept/public-works/home under “weed control” services or by calling 913-715-8358.


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