All posts by TCWP

Meet Our Team: Kelsey Mitchell, Biologist

Q – What drew you into working with TCWP as a Biologist?

A – Two main things that were attractive to me when I was applying for the Biologist role with TCWP were 1) the opportunity to conduct BOTH high quality fieldwork and lab work – what a dream! And 2) the team here at TCWP and their reputation in the local conservation community. I’d heard really wonderful things about the organization and the team – their positivity, their effectiveness, their collaborative nature and how much they value their team members. So far, so true!!

Kelsey M. and Mikenna S. in the lab together

Q – What do you hope to achieve at TCWP?

A – I hope to help expand TCWP’s laboratory capabilities. Mikenna, TCWP’s Entomologist, has built a fantastic lab and I’m excited to work with her to continue expanding the programs and experiments we can perform. Specifically, I’ll be working to see if we’re able to expand our program to include testing for tick-borne pathogens in addition to the mosquito-borne pathogens we already test for. We’d also like to more deeply explore how our lab might partner with other local organizations to provide efficient and useful lab-based services close to home.

Q – What are you most passionate about in your field?

A – I’m passionate about applying high quality science to solve real world problems that impact people and our ecosystem. I’m new to the field of Integrated Pest Management but it’s already quite obvious to me that this industry values utilizing robust science to craft realistic, data-driven solutions to problems. As someone who’s always loved and genuinely believed in the power of science to make positive change, it’s exciting to be joining this field!

Q – What about Teton County’s ecosystem do you find is the most challenging in your perspective?

A – Is it bad that the first thing that came to my mind was “housing?!”  I suppose that doesn’t really focus on the “eco” part of the ecosystem though. I think that one of the most challenging aspects of Teton County’s ecosystem in terms of conservation and managing weeds and pests is that the county is, of course, a component of a larger system – the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – encompassing about 22million acres. This unit stretches over 3 states, numerous counties and towns, and includes different entities of public lands as well as private lands. To make ecosystem-wide or county-wide progress in controlling pest species – which don’t typically confine themselves to boundaries humans have made on a map! – you’ve got to be effective across many jurisdictions. This requires strong and intentional collaboration and creative strategizing to accomplish conservation goals.

Q – Where did you go to school and do you think it’s prepared you for this role?

A – I got my Master of Science in Applied Biology at Salisbury University – a mid-size state school in Maryland. I LOVED my experience there because I was able to work with amazing advisors (shout out to Ryan Taylor & Kim Hunter!) who connected me with opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have known existed or were options for me.  For example, while completing parts of my thesis research I was able to work at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama where I met and collaborated with scientists from around the world. Another aspect of my Master’s that I didn’t fully recognize as unique or value until later was that I was able to independently design and develop my own research project from beginning to end. A lot of graduate students don’t get to experience that level of independence or choice until they pursue a doctorate. That experience definitely helped me hone my scientific skillset and has contributed to my success in various roles.

Meet our Team: Lesley Beckworth,  Landowner Program Coordinator

Q – Where did you go to school and did it help prepare you for your current work?

A – I studied Agricultural and Extension Education and Weed Science at Mississippi State University. While the species are entirely different in Teton County, the latter prepared me to adapt to invasive species management in any ecosystem, and the former prepared me to communicate scientific data with the public.

Q – Why did you start working at TCWP?

A – My first visits to Yellowstone and Grand Teton were with my family when I was in middle school. I fell in love with the region and knew I wanted to return. 

After studying Weed Science, I took my first job in Wyoming as the Assistant Supervisor for Big Horn County Weed and Pest where I got to know people from Weed and Pest Districts across the state. I was intrigued by the work TCWP was doing, and when a position opened, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of their team.

Q – What are your greatest successes and accomplishments at TCWP?

A – I think my greatest success is the relationships I have built with landowners and our partners. Seeing landowners and residents engage others makes me feel like we are truly helping educate the public about the benefits of invasive species management. 

Also, I love coordinating our partnership with Working Dogs for Conservation on the Snake River Project. The canine/handler teams have helped us find many new locations of perennial pepperweed and a few locations of saltcedar that could be highly detrimental to the Snake River system.

Q – What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced at TCWP?

A – Landowner turnover—especially since 2020. So many of our most vocal advocates have moved—it feels like we’re starting from scratch.

Q – Least favorite weed and why?

A – Oxeye daisy. It’s an attractive plant and it takes a lot of convincing to help people understand its negative impacts. It’s also difficult to remove because of its growth habit and seed viability.

Q – Favorite memory at TCWP?

A – Rafting with the TCWP staff and coming in dead last in our division at Pole Pedal Paddle. It was a great day!

Q – What are your hopes and dreams for Teton County in the future?

A – I hope we can all come together to create a community that cares for both its people and this unique place we call home.

Q – Hobbies?

A – In the summer, I love hiking, camping, and fishing with my family. In the winter, I enjoy cross country skiing and ice skating. I’m still learning how to downhill ski (did I mention that I’m from Mississippi?).

Q – What are you thankful for?

A – I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been offered. They’ve led me to the people and places that are most special to me.

Q – Who inspires you?

A – My daughter. She’s fearless and curious and so smart. I want to make the world a better place for her.

Q – What do you hope to accomplish in the future at TCWP?

A – I hope to build on the work we’ve done, lessons we’ve learned, and partnerships we’ve built to help new waves of residents and visitors understand the importance of caring for our ecosystem.

If you’re a landowner, or simply a curious Teton County resident, feel free to get to know Lesley Beckworth—you’ll learn a lot and be inspired along the way.

Ice Fishing — A Sneaky Culprit For Spreading Invasive Species

It’s winter, I don’t have to worry about invasives! That’s a problem for summer time, right?

Nope! Believe it or not, winter sports like ice fishing are an overlooked avenue for invasive species to spread. Lots of people think that since native vegetation tends to die in the fall or winter time, that invasive species can’t spread during our cold, dark winter months. However, invasive larvae and plant material of certain species can survive in cold temperatures. To keep our rivers and lakes in pristine condition we need your help this winter!

How aquatic invasives spread from ice fishing

Invasive species can spread into our riparian areas from supplies outside of our waterways or from one contaminated water source to another. Live bait, contaminated tools like an auger blade, or other supplies like buckets and containers may hold tiny pieces of invasive material. Mud, debris, and plants can survive on your tools or under the ice in a contaminated lake. 

Specifically, larvae from invasive zebra mussels or invasive snails can survive in extreme conditions. Plus, eurasian water milfoil and curly leaf pondweed can stay hardy even in the winter in Teton County. 

If any of these invasive species were introduced to our water sources, it would have devastating ecological, environmental, and economic effects. Native fish, plants, and other aquatic life would be crowded out and the non-native species would take over. This would disrupt the local food chain and significantly alter our ecosystem. 

Zebra Mussels | Credit: Amy Benson – U.S. Geological Survey 

Action steps that ice fishers can take to protect our waterways from aquatic invasive species

Whether you’re spending the day at Jackson Lake or Lower Slide Lake, a few minutes of preventative action can preserve everyone’s fishing for generations to come. Ice anglers like yourself can help with these simple steps:

  • Inspect your boats, trailers, sleds, huts, underwater cameras, augers, drills, rods, reels, lines, buckets, and other equipment for plant material, mud, or debris. 
  • Remove unwanted material if you notice any contamination. You can either wash or wipe off your equipment before you bring it with you. Even a miniscule amount of mud could hold invasive species.
  • Drain water from any vehicle or equipment you use.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash or bring it home with you. Never dump it in the lake.

Remember to keep your gear clean if you’re moving from one lake to another in a short time. Even if you’re only fishing in Teton County, keep your gear fresh and invasives-free from one location to another!

If you see something unusual while you’re fishing, feel free to take a picture and send it to our staff at Teton County Weed and Pest. We would rather receive 100 pictures that turn out to be normal native species than for a local to not submit a picture and turns out to be a high priority invasive species . As the classic motto goes—better safe than sorry!

Thank you to all of our ice fishers who seek to protect our waterways.

Meet our Team: Mark Daluge (2022)

Q – How long have you worked at TCWP and what is your role?

A – Almost 12 years! I have been the Seasonal Office Manager, Part time Office Manager, Landowner Program Coordinator, and now the Assistant Supervisor.

Q – Why did you start working at TCWP?

Photo credit. NAISMA

A – I started working for TCWP because the golf course I was supposed to work at in Wisconsin was sold—so I decided to stay in Jackson for a summer. I have a degree in Agricultural Business Management, so working for TCWP seemed like a logical job.

Q – What are your greatest successes and accomplishments at TCWP?

A – In 2019 I was awarded the Rita Beard Visionary Leadership Award. This award is given annually and recognizes an early-career individual who has shown exceptional dedication and accomplishments regarding invasive species management or educational activities.  

Some of my other accomplishments include being the former President of NAISMA (North American Invasive Species Management Association), overseeing the transfer of ownership of the PlayCleanGo education campaign from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to NAISMA, implementing an aerial application program for the treatment of cheatgrass in Teton County, and developing a drone treatment program for weed and mosquito control. 

Q – What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced at TCWP?

A – The greatest challenges have been implementing the Drone Treatment program, learning GIS platforms, and trying to figure out how to prioritize mosquito management.

Q – Least favorite weed and why?

A – Hoary Alyssum—it’s hard to spot, which makes it hard to treat. It also flowers and produces seed all summer if left unaddressed.

Q – Favorite memory at TCWP?

A – My favorite memory is also probably the toughest days I’ve had. Ten years ago we were treating East Gros Ventre Butte for cheatgrass. At the time we could not treat via helicopter, so we had to hike up the butte and treat via a backpack sprayer. We had a team of mules bringing us herbicide and drop canisters at certain areas where we could fill. We crisscrossed the hillside all day spraying, and by the end our feet and legs were absolutely beat. 

After that day, I vowed never to treat cheatgrass that way again. Five years later we did our first pilot project spraying cheatgrass via helicopter on that same hillside.

Q – What are your hopes and dreams for Teton County in the future? 

A – My dream for Teton County in the future is to be a place where my children can live if they choose to. Currently, affordable housing supply and wages/salaries are too low for most local kids to be able to live here when they grow up.

Q – Hobbies?

A – I enjoy skiing, rafting, camping, gardening, coaching swimming for the Stingrays, and cheering on my Wisconsin Badgers!  

Q – What are you thankful for?

A – I am thankful for the ability to raise my family in this amazing place.

Q – What do you hope to accomplish in the future at TCWP?

A – Eradication of Perennial Pepperweed in the Snake River Corridor. With the help of dogs trained to smell this plant, it is possible!

2022 – What A Year It’s Been

As we wrap up 2022, we can’t help but reflect on everything we’ve accomplished and the challenges along the way. We implemented successful programs, identified new threats, addressed staff changes, completed special projects, and upgraded new safety measures.

2022 Successes

Our K-12 Education programs exceeded any of our previous educational programming. We reached 10 schools, 40 teachers, and 900 students with a total of 140 hours of outreach. 

The district lab completed major safety updates which allowed us to operate for the first time at a biological safety level two.

 Our inaugural Invasive Species Cost-Share Reimbursement Program provided assistance for 232 landowners to manage invasive species on more than 7,340 acres throughout Teton County.

In previous years we ran 1-2 insecticide resistance tests using local mosquito pools. In the summer of 2022 we performed 22 tests which allowed us to detect direct evidence of insecticide resistance for the first time.

Our EDRR (Early Detection Rapid Response) staff diligently checked the locations of priority weeds. This summer over 48% of the mapped locations did not have any high priority invasive plants present. Our efforts allowed us to remove almost 10% of historic EDRR points. 

One of our unique projects is our efforts to use trained dogs to sniff out specific invasive weeds to help us locate and eradicate priority species that threaten our waterways. For the third year, Working Dogs for Conservation aided our invasive plant crews on the Snake River. With their help, we discovered 16 new perennial pepperweed locations. Plus, our teams and crews were accompanied by a children’s book author who intends to feature these efforts in a book for 8 to 11 year-olds. This is a great way to educate the public outside of our typical programming efforts. 

In October, surface and groundwater testing was conducted in four locations in Teton County. Although final results are still pending, initial data did not indicate any herbicide contamination or runoff. These findings are especially important because here at the district we prioritize environmental stewardship and responsibility. Although we wish to contain invasive species, we will not do so at the expense of any water, land, and wildlife that we hold dear. 
The cooler spring delayed some plant growth which helped our invasive plant program and short-staffed crew to reach most priority locations with appropriate timing.

Our mosquito team conducted rigorous West Nile Virus testing and detected WNV near the town of Jackson. With this information, our team was able to focus our efforts on mosquito abatement practices in specific areas where WNV was more prevalent. Since public health and safety is the backbone of our mosquito program, we consider our focused efforts to be successful and efficient.

2022 Challenges

As always, every season at the district presents new and distinct challenges. This year we were able to identify, address, and overcome new weeds, pests, safety issues, threats, and setbacks. 

Our cold, late spring brought late-season nuisance mosquitoes that were bothersome county-wide. Nevertheless, our mosquito and disease surveillance program efforts were executed with efficiency and excellent teamwork. 

Our late season insecticide resistance tests revealed that we need to research and test for resistance in upcoming seasons. Although insecticide resistance is troubling, our knowledge that this issue exists gives us a headstart to address and combat this issue.

Common teasel

For the first time in over ten years, our staff discovered a new location of common teasel—an invasive plant that crowds out native plants around it. 

Despite the fact that one of our spray trucks was involved in an accident with a dump truck on Highway 89, our crew was uninjured. In addition, we had two other vehicle incidents with our UTV’s. One UTV rolled and one was pinned against a tree. Again, none of our staff was injured. 

After two full-time personnel moved on since the first of the year, we will assess our programmatic needs this fall.

….and that’s a wrap! We had a great 2022 season and can’t wait for the successes and challenges that next year brings.

Take our Survey: Help us Improve our TCWP Website

Teton County Weed and Pest District is working on improving its website. We value your feedback and strive to provide a resource for our community that serves up answers and education that helps empower your stewardship and gets accurate science-based information to Teton County.

Please share your feedback below, and you can win a $100 gift card to Teton Mountaineering or Skinny Skis. If you submit a photo of how you enjoyed the trails this year, you will have five extra entries into the drawing. 

Survey Deadline: Nov 30, 2022

Now is the Time to Winterize your Herbicide Sprayers

Dropping temperatures, snow on the ground, and shrinking daylight hours means that it’s time to winterize your pesticide equipment! Harsh winters like we have in Jackson can damage your sprayers if you don’t take proper precautions and measures. Plus, equipment parts seem to keep rising in price. To avoid costly mistakes yet maximize the lifespan of your equipment, stick with us to learn how to winterize your sprayers’ filters, nozzles, pressure gauges, other sprayer components, and more.

Before you winterize: Wear your PPE

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is more than just clothes and gear that you should wear—it is mandated by law for your safety. PPE is worn to reduce hazards that could cause serious injuries or illnesses. Even if you’ve worked with a specific herbicide for years without any adverse effects, you should still wear every piece of PPE that is required by the label.

Keep up with sprayer maintenance BEFORE you need to winterize

When you keep up with general maintenance and cleaning throughout the year, winterizing is much easier and your chances of needing to buy new replacement pieces decreases. Plus, make sure that you know the best storage procedures for every season of the year. Where and how you should store something in the summer may or may not be the same as in the winter.

Winterize your sprayers for maximum use next spring

Why winterize right now and not leave it for the spring?

  • It is easier to to remove herbicide residue from filters, hoses, and tanks before the residue has hardened
  • Freezing temperatures throughout the winter may damage pipes and pumps
  • Your equipment will work better the first time you use it next spring
  • Your equipment’s warranty may become void if you don’t practice your due diligence
  • Winterized equipment is safer for you and everyone around you

The best way to winterize is to follow the owner’s manual. Step by step instructions will help you ensure the longevity of your equipment. Some of the suggestions you may notice will follow these guidelines:

Filters and nozzles:

  • Remove, wash them with soapy water, and rinse.
  • Store metal components in vegetable oil to avoid rusting

Pressure gauges: 

  • Remove 
  • Store in upright position in room temperature


  • Remove as much water as possible. Use an air hose to rid the sprayer of any moisture

Fuel and hydraulic oil tanks:

  • Keep full to eliminate condensation
  • Add stabilizers

Lights and flashers:

  • Check warning lights and flashers to ensure that the sprayer’s electronics are working properly


  • Remove, clean, and store batteries because they are expensive pieces of equipment


  • Inspect hoses for wear and tear. If you need to replace or fix an old hose, it is better to start that process in the fall than to wait until spring.

Straps, hoops, and bolts: 

  • Over time the equipment on your tank may loosen. Retighten and inspect everything now.

As always, refer to the owner’s manual instead of these basic guidelines. Each sprayer is different and will require specific instructions for winterization. 

Image by Juliane Lutz from Pixabay
Be proactive—winterize your equipment now!

If you’ve worked with sprayer equipment before, then you know that the quote “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true. It is easier and cheaper to stop a problem before it occurs than to try to fix it after something goes wrong. Realizing in the spring that you didn’t properly clean or store something and now you need a new part and are behind in work, is an external stressor that doesn’t need to exist in your life. Be proactive right now and you’ll thank yourself later. 

Weed of the Month: Canada Thistle

Canada thistle can be a real pain in our side—literally and figuratively! Sometimes you’ll feel it before you even see it. Canada thistle is difficult to control and quite unpleasant to the touch. Even if you’re wearing thick jeans, the long, sharp thistles of this plant can penetrate through clothing, leaving a stinging sensation. 

Unfortunately, canada thistle is prevalent in most states because of its early introduction and rapid spread. However, hope is not lost. With the correct timing and a little bit of tenacity, we can control and decrease canada thistle around us. Read more to find out why September is a GREAT time to kill canada thistle.

Canada thistle’s threat to Teton County

Once Canada thistle is established it quickly spreads and outcompetes native thistles and other plants—thus reducing biodiversity. Many of our native animal species like elk, coyotes, and bison steer clear of canada thistle. This lack of foraging allows canada thistle to spread quickly because it is not a desirable plant to eat. 

Plus, canada thistle is an opportunist plant. Meaning, it likes to grow quickly in disturbed areas such as landslide locations, construction areas, and roadsides.

Identification of Canada Thistle

Canada thistle is a perennial plant which means that it comes back every year. Plus, it has a robust root system that can penetrate deep into soil and aggressively spread and propagate. This means that canada thistle is extremely difficult to kill.   

Other identifying features:

  • The leaves alternate and are deeply divided with spines along the edge
  • Stems typically do not have spines
  • Can distribute up to 5,000 seeds
  • Seeds can stay viable in the soil for a decades
  • Coloring can range from a dull to a vibrant green depending on soil and water conditions 
  • It has purple flowers
  • Plants typically bloom in late spring and early summer
  • Seeds have feathery white tufts that allow it to effectively disperse by wind

Although the name may be misleading, canada thistle did not originate in Canada but likely Europe or Asia. It is suspected that it spread through contaminated crop seed in the 1700s.

PlayCleanGo to stop canada thistle

The PlayCleanGo motto is simple for canada thistle. The best way to stop this invasive species in its tracks is to: 

  • REMOVE – plants and mud from your boots, gear, pets, and vehicles
  • CLEAN – your gear before AND after recreational activities
  • STAY – on designated roads and trails
  • USE – certified or local firewood and hay

Like we said before, canada thistle is an opportunist. It will try its best to spread in any way it can. Use these four simple steps to ensure that our backcountry, trails, roadsides, and yards stay canada thistle-free.  

How to control canada thistle

Although the PlayCleanGo message is effective for thwarting invasive species BEFORE they are established, different methods need to be employed if canada thistle patches already exist. 

Few invasive plants are as annoying and frustrating as canada thistle. However, there is a silver-lining. September is a GREAT time to treat canada thistle. 

If you choose to use herbicide to control canada thistle, September in Teton County is the perfect time to do so because we usually see our first hard frost around now. What does a frost have to do with anything? Canada thistle goes dormant in the fall, typically after a late summer frost. When canada thistle goes dormant it takes its energy from its leaves and stem down to its roots—thus giving you a window of opportunity to use herbicide to kill the entire plant. Remember, canada thistle is a perennial with an extensive root system. Therefore, you need to target its extensive root system to permanently destroy the plant. 

Herbicide Control Instructions: Apply herbicide around or a couple of weeks before the first hard frost.

If you choose not to apply herbicide and opt for mechanical means of control, you can do so throughout the summer. Be aware that mechanical control takes a lot of work and potentially many years for an effective outcome. 

Mechanical Control Instructions: Repeatedly pull or cut the plant until its energy reserves are exhausted and the plant does not return in the spring.

We are here to answer your canada thistle questions

As always, the staff here at TCWP is available to answer your questions regarding canada thistle control methods, tricky look-alike plants, and any other questions you may have. 

Mikenna just finished her second master’s degree

This summer was yet another season jam packed with intense efforts from our full-time staff. One person who had quite the extraordinary summer is our entomologist, Mikenna Smith. 

Mikenna Smith completed her second master’s degree

Mikenna completed her second master’s degree this summer while juggling many tasks at TCWP. Her role as entomologist is vital to our west nile virus detection services for the county. You can find her behind a computer, looking through a microscope in the lab, or out surveying in the field. Want to get to know how Mikenna does it all? Read further for a Q&A with our favorite entomologist.

What is your second master’s degree in, and what prompted you to pursue it?

The degree is a Master’s of Science in Entomology from the University of Florida, with an emphasis in Medical Entomology. After about a year working for the Teton County Weed & Pest District running the small lab and doing some mosquito work, I noticed there was a vacant niche here for an entomologist. There were already quite a few employees well-versed in weed science, but no one who had a lot of knowledge or experience with insects outside of what’s needed for mosquito abatement.

After looking at mosquitoes under the microscope for a few years, Mikenna wanted to branch out and learn more. 

Between this vacant job niche and the Teton County Weed & Pest tuition assistance program for employee professional development, I saw a great opportunity to pursue something I could tell early on that I was quite fascinated by and would love to turn into a career.

Mikenna Smith

What was your first master’s degree in and how were both degrees different or alike in overall experience?

My first master’s was in Agricultural Science from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. These degrees were on a different plane altogether.

Although her first master’s was in person, the degree that she just finished was online.  

Both degrees were quite challenging— the cultures, teaching styles, and experience as a student were just wildly different. In Germany, the coursework load during the semester was lower in my experience with more of an emphasis on attending lectures and independent study for the final exams. Through the University of Florida, coursework load was higher but finals felt easier because they prepared you so well throughout the semester.

What was your coursework like for your second master’s degree?

Much of the coursework included attending online or pre-recorded lectures, independent reading and study, some lab and field work, written assignments, group projects, exams, etc.

Although Mikenna attended classes online, she did have a two-week mosquito identification course at the University of Florida Medical Entomology Lab—a course that is sure to help her with the upcoming summers at TCWP.

The University of Florida had been doing online programs for many years now, so they really had a good system dialed for folks like myself who couldn’t move to a university campus at this point in their lives but were still looking for professional development opportunities.

What was going through your mind the moment you submitted the last assignment?

I need a nap!

Overall I was just really overjoyed to have finished. It took me about three years to complete the degree with a two-semester hiatus in there somewhere.

Who were your biggest supporters through this process?

I would say that everyone I was close to was quite supportive during this process. My supervisors and coworkers were amazingly supportive and accommodating with me when, for example, I needed to take a half day off for final exams or something.

My husband was a huge cheerleader for me as well. Although he didn’t always enjoy my extreme stress levels while in grad school and working full time, he always let me know how proud he was of me for what I was accomplishing. 

Friends and family were also so supportive and helpful, cheering me on the entire time.

What have been the biggest challenges and victories this summer at TCWP?

Summers at TCWP always have challenges given their short duration and high workloads, and that was certainly true for me this summer as well. This summer, the workload was particularly high given that we were understaffed and many of us had to do more this year than we’ve ever done in the past.

The Brighter Side of 2020: Mikenna Smith was engaged
The Brighter Side of 2020: Mikenna Smith was engaged

Mikenna’s summer schedule ranged between 8-11 hours of work each day not including a two-hour commute and grad school. Whew, talk about busy!

There just wasn’t any time left over for “life.” But in that same vein, I would say my greatest victory was stepping into new roles with greater responsibility and doing so much better than I ever thought I could.

Weed of the Month: Baby’s Breath

August was prime wedding season here in Jackson. Between May and October, Teton County sees numerous destination weddings, elopements, and other special occasions. While these events are moments of celebration for most people, they can also be the source of invasive plant infestations. 

Baby’s Breath in Flower Bouquets

Even if you’ve never heard of baby’s breath you’ve probably seen it in a bouquet before. It has delicate white flowers used as fillers in various floral bouquets. While baby’s breath makes a bouquet come together as a beautiful floral arrangement, it is a non-native plant that will spread if introduced in Teton County. 

If possible, buy bouquets composed of native flowers or at the very least, flowers that are not considered invasive in our state.

Although baby’s breath can be found at wedding venues, it can also escape ornamental flower gardens. Research every plant before you add it to your garden.

Baby’s Breath Characteristics

Baby’s breath is a deep-rooted herbaceous perennial that can grow three to four feet in height. Its leaves sit opposite of one another, silvery-green and narrow. 

Many people dislike the odor of baby’s breath and can smell it from a short distance away. After it flowers, the leaves become less noticeable. Once established, baby’s breath grows in a dense mound shape and can be difficult to control. This plant is especially dangerous because it can produce approximately 14,000 seeds.

Without intervention, baby’s breath will grow and spread rapidly—outcompeting native plants and altering our ecosystem. 

Baby’s Breath Control Methods

Prevention is the first line of defense for potential baby’s breath infestations. 

  • Buy or make bouquets with native flowers
  • Carefully use or dispose of baby’s breath
  • Research native and non-native ornamentals before you plant them in your garden
  • Warn your friends, family, and neighbors about the invasive nature of baby’s breath

Thankfully, if a baby’s breath infestation occurs you still have time to manage its spread. 

First, report the infestation immediately to Teton County Weed and Pest. You can reach us at (307) 733-8419. Because baby’s breath isn’t established in Teton County and is a high priority species, we will work closely with you to eradicate it.

Control methods include digging around and under the plant as well as control from chemical herbicides.