Colorado ranch covered in tumbleweeds after high winds

Painted Skull Ranch is covered in more than 100 acres of tumbleweeds.
Posted at 3:30 PM, Oct 26, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KOAA) — Tumbleweeds are towering as high as some trees in Ellicott, about 30 miles east of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"It was breezy all morning, and then it just started really blowing hard, and here they came across the pastures," said Delbert A. Vahling, who owns Painted Skull Ranch.

The windstorm hit the area on Sunday, sending tumbleweeds flying all over his property.

The tumbleweeds were so high they blocked Vahling's front door. At one point, he had to pull the plants off of a cow that was buried underneath.

"The whole front porch was covered and I was worried about a spark from anything starting a fire," said Vahling.

Crews from El Paso County hit the roads on Sunday and Monday to clear tumbleweeds from public areas. They soaked the tumbleweeds before clearing them to help prevent any of them from catching fire.

The county cannot clear tumbleweeds from private property.

For Vahling, tumbleweed removal was not in this year's budget.

"Farming and ranching is tough anyway, so any added expense, we just can't afford it. Hay prices are crazy. I wish I could feed this to the cows," said Vahling.

Vahling believes it will take at least one month to clear the tumbleweeds off of his property.

El Paso County encourages property owners to take preventive measures early in the season to mitigate plant growth on their property. Some methods to control tumbleweed growth are keeping the property maintained by mowing or using herbicides.

This story was originally reported by Natalie Chuck on