With 700 of ditches to be sprayed each year, the Mitchell County Weed Commissioner just get all those miles covered.
Austin Walk, Road Side Manager and Weed Commissioner for Mitchell County, shared his annual report with Mitchell County Supervisors during their weekly meeting held on November 12.
Walk spoke of his ongoing program to suppress noxious weeds in ditches along county’s 700 miles (which is actually 1,400 miles) of secondary and gravel roads.
“There are noxious weeds everywhere I drive along county roads,” Walk said. “Because I am alone, I do different parts of the county every year. I try to stick to gravel roads, because it is safer
“I spray and mow down dead stuff. I spray as much brush as I can.”
This past year, Walk said he had spent almost $10,000 on chemicals.
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Walk said he drives about five to six miles an hour, while spraying, and there are times he stops and uses a hose to treat patches of weeds and brush. “This makes it impossible for me to cover all 1,400 miles of ditches during the growing season,” Walk said.
Walk said he was using a new chemical he believes will kill unwanted vegetation roots, which would kill perennial weeds for the next year.
Supervisor Barb Francis asked Walk what type of protective gear he was wearing while spraying. She encouraged him to wear a mask whenever spraying.
Supervisor Stan Walk asked how Austin implemented weed control along the county’s hard surfaced roads. “Next spring I could drive with you to get some of these blacktops,” Stan said. He added, “Come back next spring and we will look into getting someone to help you.”
Walk said one of his primary objectives was to work with the public to obtain better weed control in county ditches.