War on Weeds: Marijuana

Richard Old

Stock photo

This weed may invade your land. Be ready to oppose it.

The Enemy: Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)

Strategy: Also known as hemp, Mary Jane or simply cannabis, it is an annual plant that only reproduces by seed. The plant grows to a height (as I am told, not by experience) of up to 10 feet tall. The plant appears sticky to the touch due to the number of hairs that occur on the stems and leaves. The leaves are palmately arranged and normally have five leaflets with serrated edges. The upper surface of the leave tend to be more green than the underside. The plant produces greenish-yellow flowers that bloom from July through October.

Attack: Due to this plant being illegal in (most of) the U.S., it normally has not become an invasive plant. It was first brought into the U.S. in the 1800s for production of hemp and has since been used as a narcotic. It grows along ditches, roadsides, pastures and other wastelands that are rich in nutrients and moisture. As the plant grows very large, it can become a nuisance for motorists.

Defense: Livestock will normally stay away from this plant, but pheasants, quail, songbirds and small animals will eat the seeds. First line of defense if you see the plant is to call the police, but if they are unavailable control can be done by simply pulling the plant up. Other types of control may be to use 2,4-D on the plant in early spring (as this plant produces many seeds it will sprout in the spring and you don’t want to get caught with it the second year). For proper identification, don’t call me — call your local law enforcement agency. And, like I train my crews, if you find a large patch, get away from there for your own safety.

To learn more, call Bonneville County Weed Superintendent Jeffrey Pettingill at 208-529-1397 or email weeds@co.bonneville.id.us.