Northwest NEWS

July 20, 1998

Local News

New noxious weed hits Woodinville

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--A delicate, pleasant smelling, flame-orange colored flower has invaded the area, much to the dismay of weed control experts.
   Orange hawkweed, a native of Europe, has made its way to the city of Woodinville.
   And while it may add a splash of color to roadways, King County officials consider it a noxious weed and are asking for residents to help prevent its spread.
   So far, the flower has been spotted in at least three areas of Woodinville: along the right of way of 166th Ave. N.E., near Leota Junior High, from N.E. 197th Pl. to the Snohomish County line; in the 20000 through 20300 blocks of 170th Ave. N.E.; and in the 18700 block of 168th Ave. N.E.
   Orange hawkweed is a perennial that spreads over the ground by runners.
   The leaves are club shaped and "hairy." Stems are anywhere from a few inches to two-feet high, slender and hairy.
   Flowers are in branching clusters near the head.
   The hawkweed was found in Woodinville following a July 1 area check by the county which the city contracts with for weed control.
   Sasha Shaw, a King County weed inspector, says hawkweed, Hieracium aurantiacum,is a class B weed that needs to be controlled before it goes to seed.
   She said the best strategy is to dig up all of the plant and dispose of it. For larger infestations, herbicides with clopyralid combined with 2, 4-D and dicamba should be used, Shaw said.
   Products with those ingredients can be found at hardware and feed stores, she said. Otherwise, she suggested cutting the heads off the flowering heads and placing them in trash bags.
   This is the first year the county has looked at controlling the weed.
   Shaw said that property owners who didn't comply could face a bill for eradication.
   "The problem is it's an aggressive spreader and it won't stop at property boundaries," she said.
   Orange hawkweed, also known as King Devil and Devil's Paintbrush, is a competitor for pasture and range plant species.
   Shaw said because its leaves grow close to the ground, grasses are shaded out.
   "It's a danger in the sense that it competes with native plants," Shaw said. "No native animals will use it for forage, and no bugs hate it."
   Originally from Europe, it was introduced into New England because of its attractive flowers, according to the county.
   In 1945, it was introduced in Spokane and continues to be spread by wildflower enthusiasts.
   "If we're aggressive enough in the early stages, we can get rid of it in this city," Shaw said, adding that it could turn into a "worse pest than dandelions."