Land affected by recent fires may also face severe erosion and flooding issues, but mulch used on public lands must be certified as “weed-free.” The use of certified weed-free forage and mulch is intended to reduce the spread of weeds on public lands and parks. Noxious weeds harm native plant communities and wildlife habitat, reduce crop yields and land values, damage watersheds, increase soil erosion and poison animals.
“Mulch is the most economical way to provide cover and prevent erosion; it is estimated that as much as 11,000 tons of mulch may be needed to protect the land affected by the High Park Fire alone,” said Don Gallegos, CDA coordinator of the Certified Weed-Free Forage Program. “Colorado has had an early harvest and we hope that there is enough straw from the wheat and barley harvests this year to meet the demand brought about by these fires.”
The Colorado Department of Agriculture reminds wheat and barley producers that, in order to provide certified weed-free mulch, the crop must be inspected by CDA before it is harvested. To participate in the state’s weed-free program, growers must contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture for an inspection prior to harvest. The inspection ensures that there are no propagative plant parts of noxious weeds. Once the crop is certified weed-free, producers will be added to a directory. Counties, contractors and other buyers will then have access to the directory through CDA’s website and direct mailing.
Contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Certified Weed-Free Forage Program, at 303-239-4149 for additional information or to setup an inspection.