A friend who was visiting recently from Canada was very worried about the mustard weeds that have been springing up all around our fence lines and in a few other places. He knows a bit about introduced plant species and their consequences, and spent a lot of his time here trying to identify these weedy intruders in our yard. It turns out that they are possibly either Sahara Mustard or London Rocket, both of which are annuals propagating from seed. All we have to do to get them somewhat under control is to cut them off at the ground before the flowers go to seed.
He was right to be concerned. These plants host some pests that can make big problems for our local farmers. According to the Las Cruces Sun-News: ...the weeds harbor a pesky insect, known as the Beet Leaf Hopper, which in turn carries a virus. The virus, called Curly Top, can wipe out young chile fields.
Oh, no, not our beloved chiles! We'll be outside, hacking away at the few remaining weeds in the yard and disposing of them. I hope we can convince our neighbors to do so, especially the owner of the surrounding pecan orchards. His weeds are growing just on the other side of our fences, potentially making all of our efforts useless when those plants go to seed.
Within the city limits, code enforcement requires that property owners can be cited, fined, or even jailed if they don't remove the weeds within 24 hours of being notified by the city. I'm not sure how the problem is handled outside of city limits, where we live. I guess we'll just have to see what happens next.