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Ward's Weed poses wildfire danger in Carlsbad

Posted at 11:18 AM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 19:50:37-04

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) - A weed that's plagued Carlsbad for more than a decade is reaching a tipping point, according to the city, who say these weeds could grow out of control and pose a huge wildfire risk come June.

The Ward's Weed was first discovered in Bressi Ranch in 2008, Roseanne Humphrey Carlsbad Habitat Management Plan Coordinator said. It looks like most of the weeds you pull around the house, but this superweed has the power to multiply.

"It can produce up to 30,000 seeds per meter squared per year," Humphrey said that makes it difficult for the city to tackle.

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"For the most part we think it's in 200 acres and so we have to use a pre-emergent herbicide," Humphrey said they learned about the herbicide from Australians whose continent was taken over by the weed. She said the herbicide does not harm native plants.

Ward's Weed's danger lies in it's ability to multiply quickly, choke out other plants, like our beloved state flower, the poppy, and in June, it dies and turns into a tumbleweed. "That are dried up and like tinder so they can burn really easily," Humphrey said.

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She says the only thing standing in the way is your ability to pull these weeds when you see them, or keep them from spreading when you're out on the trail, "brush off your clothing, brush off your dog, because you know dogs love to get in there."

The city is working to get funding and volunteers to eradicate the species.

"There's no hard line and contain-ability can actually take 10-15 years," she said.

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