(Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette)
"The only thing that's green is the kochia. Oh, and bind weed," Red Willow County weed control superintendent Bill Elliott told county commissioners Monday morning.
Elliott said that he has inspected all but one of the 12 properties on which the state inspector found uncontrolled growth of musk thistle late this spring and earlier this summer. "Yeah, it's there," Elliott added, "but there aren't huge patches."
But, Elliott said, there's really nothing to do now until the fall. "It's seeded out and burned up," he said. "It's so hot and dry, the chemicals aren't working well either."
Elliott said he found lots of "misses. They've sprayed, but missed some. You can see that." He said that several rural neighbors went together and had a "spray party," making it a group effort to get rid of thistles on adjoining properties.
Elliott said he has had complaints of the thistles growing in yards, gardens alleys and trails inside McCook.
Of the rural properties he has inspected, Elliott said that one had changed ownership. "The new owners have cleaned it up," he said, but added, " "And then there's some -- you just don't know what to do with them anymore."
Elliott said his only option now is to enforce spraying this fall.
Even though rain would make the weeds grow, Elliott is praying for rain. He is also the fire chief of the Red Willow Western Rural Fire Department, and he and his firefighters have responded to many fires this hot, dry summer.
"There are not enough firetrucks and firefighters to fight this crazy stuff," Elliott said. "I've never seen a mess like this."
"Even these pasture fires won't kill musk thistle," he said. "It comes back just as well, with less competition."