County Ag: Weed and Seed Program

The Environmental Services Office houses the County Ag Inspector. This position is responsible for the implementation of the Minnesota State Weed Law (MN Statute Chapter 18 Sections 18.75 -18.88) and the Minnesota State Seed Law (MN Statute Chapter 21 Sections 21.80 - 21.92) .

Under these statutes the County Ag Inspector is capable of requiring landowners to control noxious weed infestations on their private property and also has the duty of conducting inspections of seed retailers by sampling the products they sell. These samples are then sent in and analyzed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

The following information is provided for the benefit of Clearwater County property owners in the identification and control of noxious weeds common to Clearwater County and surrounding areas.


 Common Weeds of Clearwater County

  • Leafy Spurge - This is an aggressive weed that is poisonous to most livestock and may cause skin irritations for humans when exposed to the sap. Currently there are only a handful of sites identified in Clearwater County where leafy spurge has been found and is subsequently being controlled. Due to the detrimental effects of this weed and its currently small distribution, landowners are highly encouraged to take actions to control this noxious weed. (Click here for more information on this weed)
  • Plumeless Thistle - This weed prefers fertile soils but is capable of adapting to many conditions. Plumeless Thistle infestations suppress natural vegetation and may cause livestock to avoid grazing in infested areas thus reducing the productivity of pastures and hay lands. (Click here for more information on this weed)
  • Bull Thistle - This weed may be found in over grazed pastures or in areas that may be recently disturbed. The spiny nature of the weed makes it unpalatable to livestock and thus helps facilitate its spread. (Click here for more information on this weed)
  • Canada Thistle - This weed can spread rapidly once established and is difficult to remove. Its creeping root stock aids in the spread of the weed and creates dense stands that suppress native vegetation. ( Click here for more information on this weed)
  • Musk Thistle - Due to its high seed production, once established this weed can spread very rapidly. As with the other thistle species, musk thistle tends to invade pastures and disturbed areas suppressing native vegetation. (Click here for more information on this weed)
  • Purple Loosestrife - This weed is adapted to wet soil conditions. It can invade all types of wetlands and can also infest agricultural ditches, roadsides and fields. One plant can produce as many as 2-3 million seeds per year, making it a rapidly spreading invasive. As with other weeds, it suppresses natural vegetation and can change the habitat of a wetland. Thus displacing a multitude of species that commonly occupy them. If a landowner identifies this weed they are encouraged to contact Environmental Services as biological controls are highly effective and may be available. (Click here for more information on this weed)
  • Perennial Sow Thistle - This weed is typically an invasive of many crops. However it can be found in pastures, along roadsides, cultivated fields, woodlands, gardens and other waste areas. (Click here for more information in this weed)
  • Spotted Knapweed - This invasive weed was recently added to Clearwater County's noxious weed list. Spotted knapweed is common throughout Clearwater County and surrounding areas and the county is taking an active role against the further spread of the weed. It is frequently associated with poor or infertile soil conditions and also a common invader of disturbed sites which have these soils. It may be seen invading pastures, old hayfields, gravel pits and roadsides. Landowners are encouraged to take an active role against spotted knapweed should it be present on their property by contacting their local extension service/agent for methods best suited for control of the weed in their area. (Click here for more information on this weed)