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Tumbleweed Trouble: Homeowners Overrun by Thorny Terrors

Tumbleweed Trouble: Homeowners Overrun by Thorny Terrors

 

 

 

 

It was straight out of a Western-meets-horror movie: Strong winds sent giant, prickly tumbleweeds rolling into the yards and streets of Southern California and Utah communities this week. The menaces were so bad, piling higher than 5 feet in some cases, that many residents couldn’t get in or out of their own homes.

After windstorms on Monday, about 150 homeowners in the southern portion of Victorville, a city of more than 120,000 residents about an hour and a half northwest of Los Angeles, were inundated with one of the worst attacks of tumbleweeds they had ever seen. A few Salt Lake City–area homeowners faced a similar plight as spiky basketball-size weeds blew in.

“It’s a nightmare,” says Bryan Bagwell, 42, a Victorville based broker at Bryan Bagwell Real Estate, who was overwhelmed by the prickly pests. Since his back was hurting from a previous round of clearing tumbleweeds from his suburban property, he hired two men with thick gloves and pitchforks to do the job. It took them six and a half hours on Tuesday to finish the work, as the thorny weeds were more than 4.5 feet high on some parts of his property. “It’s very irritating.”

The Victorville problem may be at least partly a legacy of the housing collapse. Developers had cleared a lot across the street of brush and shrubs (which would ordinarily catch the tumbleweeds) more than a decade ago, in anticipation of putting up new houses there, Bagwell says. But then the housing bubble burst, and nothing was built on it. The site was being maintained for a while to clear the tumbleweeds, but that maintenance work stopped a few years back, he says.

 

 

“It’s been an ongoing situation. Once every couple of weeks, when the wind blows, we get tumbleweeds,” says Bagwell, who has been covered in scratches as he and his wife and kids try to get rid of them since they began appearing over the past few years. “It can be as little as five to 10 tumbleweeds or as many as several hundred tumbleweeds in my yard.”

The influx of the spiky nuisances was “extreme,” says city of Victorville spokeswoman Sue Jones. The city sent crews out to collect the tumbleweeds and feed them into trash compactors before the dry weeds could become a fire hazard. “In some cases, they were as high as the second floors” of home, she says.

On Monday strong winds pushed thousands of tumbleweeds onto a home in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan, UT. A city crew came out to clear the weeds and help the owners get into their home, which is across the street from a vacant lot. The crew left with about a ton of tumbleweed chips, says city spokeswoman Kim Wells.

She added that tumbleweeds do blow around on occasion, but not to this magnitude.

“This was pretty epic,” Wells says.

| Apr 18, 2018
Tumbleweed Trouble

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