Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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John Hollnhorst reporting You've heard about collecting a bounty for shooting varmints, or capturing a bad guy. But who ever heard of collecting a bounty for bringing in a bag of weeds?
It's an idea whose time has come.
The 'varmint' in this case has a horrible name. Dyer's Woad. It's a yellow-blossomed thing which you probably thought was a mustard plant. It's nothing but a weed. And it's not supposed to be here.
Once you start looking for it, you see it everywhere.
JAMES PARKS/WEBER COUNTY WEED SUPERVISOR: "KIND OF PRETTY NOW."
A tough old weed that, pretty soon, will start looking kind of ugly.
JAMES PARKS/WEBER COUNTY WEED SUPERVISOR: "LATER WHEN IT DRIES, IT TURNS BROWN AND BLACK."
Dyer's Woad sneaked over here from Europe long ago. And then it went berserk. It makes for aesthetic problems along roads and economic problems on farms.
JAMES PARKS/COUNTY WEED SUPERVISOR: "DYER'S WOAD IS NOT THE MOST POISONOUS OR INVASIVE OF PLANTS. BUT IT HAS MORE ACREAGE UNDER ITS CONTROL THAN ANY OTHER WEED." T here are lots of ways to get rid of it.
You can mow it down.
You can dig it.
You can spray it with chemicals.
You can even munch it, if you have an appetite for woad. Utahns have been trying for decades to get rid of it.
JAMES PARKS: "TOO MANY NUMBERS. WE WANT TO REDUCE THE NUMBERS."
In Weber county they're stepping up the war on woad with a new weapon. A big orange bag. If you fill it up with dyer's woad, they'll give you ten bucks."
They have 500 bags and 5,000 dollars in federal grant money to give away. It's partly to educate the public, and partly to make a little dent in a big problem.
JAMES PARKS: "EACH PLANT'S GOING TO PRODUCE 5000 SEEDS SO NEXT YEAR WE'RE TAKING AWAY IMMEASURABLY FROM THE SEED BANK."
Mother Nature is pitching in to help too. These dark spots are from a rust spore that kills Dyer's Woad. It came in from Europe a few years ago.
JAMES PARKS: "IT HITCH-HIKED IS ALL WE CAN SAY. FINALLY THE NATURAL PREDATOR GOT OVER HERE FROM EUROPE AND FOUND IT'S HOME. PATCHES OF DYER'S WOAD. AND STARTED TO PROLIFERATE."
By now, you probably have one question: 'Where the heck did Dyer's Woad get it's name?'
Well, "woad" is an old Saxon word for this type of herb. And people as far back as Julius Caesar have used this plant to make a beautiful blue dye.
Thus, it's Dyer's Woad.