Questions and rationale about the Town of Vernon Weed Ordinance
Early draft of new Weed Ordinance (as of 21 April 2008):

The Town shall require that all Noxious Weeds shall be destroyed prior to the time in which such plants would mature to the bloom or flower state. The growth of Noxious Weeds shall be prohibited within the town limits. Town residents shall not cultivate or sell Nuisance Weeds within the town limits. Town residents are encouraged to destroy other Restricted Weeds. The Weed Ordinance is designed to protect agricultural land, natural ecosystems, and public health.

Why are there three classes of weeds mentioned in the ordinance?

The three classes are Noxious, Nuisance, and Restricted Weeds. Noxious Weeds are of the greatest concern and are addressed by Wisconsin Statute 66.0407. Nuisance Weeds are of lower concern and are addressed by Wisconsin Statute 23.235. Restricted Weeds are of local concern to the town, not yet addressed by Wisconsin Statute, and are recommended to be voluntarily destroyed by the landowner and not allowed to escape to neighboring lands.

Why is the weed ordinance design mentioned in the ordinance?

The weed ordinance is designed to protect agricultural land, natural ecosystems, and public health. It is important to disclose the rationale of creating a weed ordinance and to protect the ordinance from misinterpretation in the future. The weed ordinance is not designed to interfere with the rights of the landowner to landscape, their use of natural landscaping, or to judge the aesthetic use of any species of plant.

Why does the noxious weed part of the ordinance describe that plants not mature to the bloom or flower state?

The noxious weeds listed are effectively killed if they are prevented to bloom. Hand picking, mowing, or chemical herbicide applications will all be effective in destroying the noxious weed as long as the plant has not bloomed. Once the weed has bloomed, weed seed will be dispersed and germinate, and the noxious weeds will return next year and it may spread to neighboring lands.

Why are Noxious, Nuisance, and Restricted Weeds on a separate list and not within the weed ordinance?

Over time, the weeds on the list will change and the list will be extended. Some nuisance and restricted class weeds might be upgraded to noxious weed status. Additional local weeds may be added to the restricted weed class. The weed ordinance need not be amended for each and every change if the ordinance addresses a separate weed list. The rationale of the separate weed list is to avoid frequent amendments to the ordinance and to allow the weed commissioner to make annual changes to the list as needed.

What happens if the landowner does not destroy Noxious Weeds growing on their land?

A landowner must destroy noxious weeds on their lands within five days of receiving a proper notice by the weed commissioner. If the weed removal is neglected by the landowner, the weed commissioner will direct the towns public works department, or another source, to destroy the weeds as provided for by Wisconsin Statute. Except for the towns reimbursement for weed removable, there is no other fee or penalty.

What happens if the landowner does not destroy Nuisance or Restricted Weeds growing on their land?

Nothing. The landowner is not required to destroy nuisance or restricted weeds. However, these weeds are recommended to be voluntarily destroyed by the landowner and not allowed to escape to neighboring lands.

What happens if the landowner cultivates or sells Nuisance Weeds?

This is a violation of Wisconsin Statute. However, other then notifying the State Department of Natural Resources, there is no fee or penalty addressed in the ordinance.

Will other plants be added to the Restricted Weeds list?

Yes. The University of Wisconsin Botany Department, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin are working on a draft to identify additional weeds. Some of these draft weeds are in the Town of Vernon. Each year, the weed commissioner will consider adding plants to the restricted weeds list.

Why not list all of the other draft weeds on the Restricted Weeds list now?

The list would be too long and weed control would be unfocussed. It is best to concentrate on a set number of restricted weeds and to educate the residents about these plants.


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