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Battle Against Aggressive Plant Begins in Utah County

Battle Against Aggressive Plant Begins in Utah County

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Alex Cabrero ReportingAn aggressive plant is taking over much of the western United States, including Utah. It's called the tamarisk, brought here from Asia about 100 years ago to help control erosion efforts. Now, though, it's taking over everything.

The tamarisk is so dominating it takes water away from native plants, making it nearly impossible for other vegetation to live. Today in Spanish Fork, near Utah Lake, a lot of people came out to take the land back.

It's the type of chainsaw event that would've made Jason from Friday the 13th proud, only in this case, it was the good guys cutting down the bad guys.

Ryan Paskett, a resident of Salt Lake City, said, "I thought it'd just be come in, get it done, and leave. But it's a challenge."

It's a huge challenge because the tamarisk plants seemed to be everywhere near Utah Lake in Spanish Fork.

Ever since the tamarisk was brought to the western United States for erosion control about 100 years ago, it's been spreading, and spreading, and spreading, to the point now where it's nearly out of control.

David Lee with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said, "If we don't control it, it'll spread and take over all available habitat."

Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources has pretty much declared war on the plant because it takes so much water it doesn't leave any for anything around it.

"A mature tamarisk plant will utilize over a hundred gallons of water a day," Lee said.

The weeds are definitely tough on the landscape, but they're also tough on chainsaws. It seems like every few minutes, the chains were coming off of them, which is why some volunteers used old-fashioned shears.

It's going to take years to fight this plant, but you have to start somewhere. After cutting the plants, workers then put a chemical on the roots. That should kill the plant, but again, there are thousands of plants in Utah alone and each plant can produce thousands of seeds. It's going to be a long battle.

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