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Lawless weeds causing a calamity in Colorado Published: June 12, 2014

DENVER — Tumbleweeds, those iconic symbols of the West, have gotten so bad this year that two Colorado counties declared states of emergency over the thick piles of spiky weeds, USA Today reports.

What we call tumbleweeds can be several different kinds of plant; none of them is native. One of the worst is the Russian thistle, a fast-growing weed that sprouts with very little water, and then breaks off in the fall winds to drop thousands of seeds from a single plant as it rolls east.

Rancher Gary Gibson of rural Crowley County said the overgrowth was so deep this fall that he and other county officials had to close 45 miles of weed-choked rural roads.

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