Weed Commissioner Lackore says Hancock County confirmed toxic weeds in Garner
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Weed Commissioner Lackore says Hancock County confirmed toxic weeds in Garner

Hancock County Naturalist and Weed Commissioner Jason Lackore is alerting the public that poison hemlock has been found in a drainage ditch at the town of Garner’s yard waste landfill south of town. It warns that it is a highly toxic weed that can be fatal if ingested.

As of 2023, Lackore contains and attempts to eradicate the same toxic weed in the Eagle Lake Natural Area. He said the area of ​​toxic weeds in Eagle Lake grew slightly despite his repeated efforts to bring it under control, first using a weak and then a stronger solution of glyphosate before adding a more potent chemical to the mix. .

“The Eagle Lake area has gotten a little bit bigger, but it can still be controlled where it is, but it’s difficult,” Lackore told the county Board of Supervisors June 10. “I spent a lot of time trying to control it there. … The plant is extremely difficult to control.

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Lackore said concerns about the new infestation area were received from a caller on June 3. He identified that the plant was actually poison hemlock.

“The plant is found in close proximity to the public and is extremely toxic to humans and livestock,” Lackore said of the newest location. He said the fact that it is upstream of a large wetland complex at Eagle Lake is disconcerting, but the new location is upstream of a number of large livestock producers, which he described as “really not good”. He pointed out that the problem is already costing the county a lot of time and money.

Lackore said the new location is near a main drainage ditch connected to the town of Garner.

“I met with city officials,” Lackore said. “They are aware of it. They know what it looks like.

He asked supervisors if the county could contract with someone to prevent the spread of the virus, which remains an open question.

“These are public spaces,” Lackore said. “People only need to eat a few leaves and they are dead.”

He stated firmly that he was almost certain how the new infestation site had emerged.

“You can tell he’s the one who cleaned up that area,” Lackore said. “They definitely took him there. It’s in this whole gap and you know this process. The entire berm is covered.

“They are cleaning this up and cleaning this ditch,” Supervisor Sis Greiman agreed.

Lackore said the hardest part of containing the infestation will likely be getting it down the creek and down the embankment.

“Work was done there in 2022,” Lackore said. “I know exactly what work was done, every place this plant grows now and nowhere else.”

Lackore said poison hemlock has white flowers as well as purple spots on the stem as common identifiers. He said that although its toxicity mainly came from ingestion, he did not rule out that people could suffer ill effects from touching or inhaling toxins from this toxic herb. Ingestion can quickly lead to respiratory failure, increased heart rate or heart attack, or even death, he added.

“My main concern is public spaces upstream from major livestock producers,” Lackore said. “This will carry him.” All the plants we see are in the adult stage. This means they have been there for two years and will have seed banks. This is going to be a battle.

Anyone encountering poison hemlock in Hancock County is asked to notify the Hancock County Conservation Council office at 641-924-2132. Although Weed Commissioner Lackore is doing his best to eradicate the weed before it spreads, he said there is a good chance it will spread to other parts of the county.

“I wish I had better news,” Lackore said. “This is a situation in the county that the council and the public should be aware of because there is poison hemlock in Hancock County. In 2022 and before, there have been no reports, sightings, or news of its presence here. In 2023, we found mustard garlic, purple loosestrife, and poison hemlock in Eagle Lake for the first time.

More information on poison hemlock is available at the following link on the University of Minnesota website: https://extension.umn.edu/identify…/poison-hemlock.

Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534 or by email at [email protected].