JOHN DAY – Don your gloves and dig out your myrtle spurge.

Although decorative, the plant is a foreigner to this country, without natural enemies.

Spurge invades quickly, which can spell trouble wherever it grows.

The plant contains a latex that can cause blistering of the skin, so people should wear gloves when attempting to remove it.

Whoever brings the most trash bags full of spurge to this Saturday’s Home, Garden & Outdoor Expo, will win some nice prizes,  said Mike Martin, noxious weed control coordinator for Grant Soil and Water Conservation District.

Martin will also be on hand at the Expo to provide information on noxious weeds and their identification, and to discuss treatment methods and related issues.

Martin, with a four-man crew, is able to treat between 2,000-3,000 acres of land throughout Grant County each year.

From February through March, applications are done before plants begin their growth period, then from April to November, plants are given broadleaf applications.

“We tackle large problems for private landowners through grant-funded projects. We’re able to tackle large infestations – knock them back to a manageable level – to make them easier for landowners, in terms of labor and cost,” he said.

“We’re just tackling the really big problems, in most cases to get things to a manageable level for the private landowners,” Martin said. “Then, they’ll be able to handle things better on their own.”

The “purge your spurge” event is sponsored by the Grant County Cooperative Weed Management Area, a local working group comprised of agencies, land managers and landowners for the common goal of controlling priority noxious weeds.

For questions on how to control noxious weeds, the Grant Soil and Water Conservation office can be reached at 541-575-1554.

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