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To the folks who requested spraying spotted knapweed on the Kagy hillsides last July and to whoever sprayed: The spray killed most of the knapweed, but some of us clipped surviving flowers in August before seed formation.

In addition to the knapweed, the spray killed these native wildflowers: Penstemon that formed a lovely purple carpet in spring; Blue flax that made the hill a beautiful blue in early June; Yellow arrowleaf balsamroot that flowered 20 years after we planted it and was starting to spread; Lupine and Astragalus that were adding nitrogen to the soil; Purple Liatris (gayfeather) that attracted bees and butterflies; vivid red-orange Gaillardia (blanket flower) that bloomed in late summer. Plus others.

Native Plant Society members planted creeping juniper and many of these flowers in 1991 and have been nurturing the plants and pulling knapweed every spring since then. We had permission from the city of Bozeman to work on the hillsides. We monitor the hill closely and attack the knapweed every year. As biological control agents, we target only the unwanted weeds and let the desirable flowers survive. We don't know if there is a plan to replant the hill, but if not, the hillside will revert to a worse erosion site and more spotted knapweed.

Spraying is the only control agent sometimes, but it is lethal to the non-target plants also. Some of us would like to start over again on the revegetation, but we need to know if new work will also be ruined. Revegetation is a lesson in patience.

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Sharon Eversman