Campaign to stop the spread of noxious weeds

KUSA - A weed that is so noxious it will cause severe burns if it touches your eyes or your skin is taking over the city.

The City of Denver and the Colorado Department of Agriculture have declared war on "myrtle spurge."

Teams of city and county workers are canvassing neighborhoods to identify the weed. Homeowners are notified if the weed if found on their property, and then the process of "purging the spurge" begins. It's a problem that can take three years of constant attention to solve.

Myrtle spurge can be found primarily in older neighborhoods, such as Capitol Hill and the Baker and Berkeley areas.

City naturalist Kelly Uhing says the weed in not natural to Colorado.

"This was brought over from Europe to basically fulfill people's desire to have a beautiful garden with plants that are very easy to take care of," she told 9NEWS. "It's drought tolerant, a very prolific seed producer and very aggressive in the garden. In fact, it's too aggressive actually to where it will bully all the other plants in their gardens and take off and head off into our open spaces."

The milky latex substance inside the plant frequently causes problems for children, who pick the weed and quickly discover its toxic nature.

Homeowners can get free replacement plants if they work with the city in removing the spurge.

Learn more on how to work with the city here: and click on "Noxious Weeds."

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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