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Noxious Weed Control

The Aitkin SWCD works to report, manage, and contain infestations of noxious weeds.

Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture publishes a list of invasive, non-native plants that are harmful “to human or animal health, the environment, public road, crops, livestock or other property” (Minnesota Department of Agriculture). These plants are called noxious weeds. There are three lists of noxious weeds: Eradicate, Control, and Restricted. Each list is updated annually. The current list of noxious weeds can be found at this link.


There currently are not any reports of noxious weeds on Minnesota’s eradicate list in Aitkin County; however, meadow knapweed has been reported along the southeastern border, in Pine County.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture publishes a map with reports of any species on the Eradicate list, found at this link.


There are 10 species of noxious weeds on the Control list in Aitkin County.

  • Bohemian knotweed

  • Canada thistle

  • Common tansy

  • Giant knotweed

  • Japanese knotweed

  • Non-native phragmites

  • Plumeless thistle

  • Purple loosestrife

  • Spotted knapweed

  • Wild parsnip


There are 5 species of noxious weeds on the Restricted list in Aitkin County.

  • Black locust

  • Common buckthorn (European buckthorn)

  • Garlic mustard

  • Glossy buckthorn

  • Siberian peashrub

Noxious Weed Highlight

Common Tansy

Have you seen the tall fern-leafed plants with the button-like flowers along the road during the middle of summer?  If you have noticed these, then you have likely seen the Common Tansy, an invasive species that is invading Aitkin County.

Common tansy is a perennial plant with distinctive yellow button-like flowers. It can form dense cover and degrade pastures, impede reforestation efforts, and outcompete native plants. Eating common tansy can be toxic to humans and livestock. Wear gloves when handling common tansy.


Noxious Weed Highlight

Spotted Knapweed

Spotted knapweed is a native of Europe and Asia. It was introduced to North America in the 1890s as a contaminant in agricultural seed and through soil discarded from ship ballast. It has become a serious problem of pastures and rangeland in the western United States.

Efforts must be made to prevent seed maturation and dispersal of plants into new areas. Additionally, no transportation, propagation, or sale of these plants is allowed. Failure to comply may result in enforcement action by the county or local municipality. 

Spotted knapweed is highly invasive and, therefore, can severely decrease the biological diversity of native and agronomic habitats by reducing the availability of desirable forage for livestock operations, degrading wildlife habitats, and hindering reforestation and landscape restoration efforts. It also produces a chemical that is toxic to other plants, allowing it to spread quickly and become established.


Gravel pit noxious weed certification

The Aitkin SWCD has piloted a program to spray participating gravel pits in the county for species such as spotted knapweed; these weeds are often spread through the movement of seeds in sand and gravel, or on heavy equipment working in these areas.

 All active private gravel pits are offered this service free of charge. It consists of a site review by the County Ag Inspector and a management program for any discovered state designated noxious weeds. 

The goal of the Gravel Pit Certification Program is to certify gravel with a reduced seed bank, to reduce maintenance costs and the spread of Minnesota noxious weeds throughout the county.  The most common noxious weeds that infest gravel pits in Aitkin County are Common Tansy, Spotted Knapweed and Canada Thistle.

Active gravel pits/owners in the program working toward reducing seed banks in Aitkin County gravel are:


Franklin Turnock

Allen Ammala Excavating

spotted knapweed

Mark Ritter

Emery Inc.

Patrick Ritter

Park X LLC

Brooks Pit

Chad Westerlund

Tony Nistler

Johnson Sewer & Excavating INC

common tansy

Carlson Gravel Pit

Hawkinson Construction Co INC

Nelson Lakeside Farm

Kruse Gravel

Rick Boyer

Mark Demenge

Jeanette Strand

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