The burdock plant has many positive properties, but it has no place in Golden.
Known for its clinging burs, the tall and invasive biennial herb is popping up in numbers around the area. Wildsight Golden has coordinated efforts to remove it before it goes to seed. On Monday, July 8, volunteers joined Wildsight to get dirty, removing burdock in the community.
“We like burdock, just not here,” says Tesia Hackett, Community Invasive Plant Program coordinator. “There have been studies that show that bats and songbirds have been threatened by the burdock burs.”
Invasive plants like the burdock are also “prolific seed producers,” Hackett said, explaining that the burdock outcompetes native plants around it. The large leaves cover a lot of ground, and the plant produces an egregious amount of seed.
The burs on the burdock are easily transported as they attach themselves to domestic and wild animals and trail users.
“They really like to hook onto things,” she said.
The best way to ensure removal of burdock is successful is to continuously cut it down. Eventually, its seed stock will deplete, and it won’t be able to grow back.
In its first year of growth, the leaves resemble rhubarb. In the second year, it sprouts tall shoots that produce seeds.
When removing burdock, it is important to double bag the plants, and bring the bags to the landfill where they can be properly buried deep into the ground. Disposal of invasive plants and yard waste is free at the Golden Landfill.
Other invasive plants Wildsight Golden focuses on include the Canada thistle, toadflax, and orange hawkweed.
“They have a whole arsenal of defense mechanisms,” Hackett said, adding that the hawkweed changes the pH level of the soil around it, so it is important not to mow it once it has gone to seed.
Anyone who lives in Golden and suspects plants on their property might be invasive is welcome to call Wildsight Golden to check them out. Or, plants can be brought to weed pull events for Hackett to inspect. Wildsight Golden is often at farmer’s markets, where people can ask questions in person and get more educated about their own back yard.
If you’re looking for a way to get outdoors, make new connections, learn about the landscape, and help limit the spread of invasive species, look out for future weed pull events at Wildsight Golden on Facebook.