Northwest NEWS

May 7, 2001

Features

King County on lookout for noxious weeds - are you?

April showers bring May... "weeds?" That's right, King County is reminding landowners that now is the time to identify, control and contain any noxious weeds on their property.
   The King County Noxious Weed Control Program began this month to send out their crew to survey land in an effort to identify and ultimately prevent the spread of noxious weeds. But the county crews can't do it alone.
   "We need the help of landowners in identifying areas being invaded by noxious weeds," said program coordinator Jane Wentworth. "Once we locate the weeds, we can work with landowners to control the problem."
   Introduced accidentally or as ornamentals in yards and gardens, noxious weeds spread quickly, displace desirable plant species and are extremely difficult to control. Noxious weeds can reduce crop yields, destroy native habitat, damage recreational opportunities, clog waterways, lower land values and even poison humans and livestock.
   Some of the major culprits in King County right now are Giant Hogweeds, Gorse, Tansy Ragwort, Spotted Knapweed and Sulfur Conquefoil.
   The weed program is currently monitoring more than 4,500 infestation sites of 39 species on the King County Noxious Weed List.
   State law requires that landowners control noxious weeds on their property. Through the weeds control program, property owners are notified, given information on the weeds and suggestions for control methods. The program provides these services: € Consultations on your property and specific weed management problems; € Identification of weed samples brought or sent to the office; €Informational handouts describing specific noxious weeds and control methods; €Information on alternatives to herbicides, including native plant re-vegetation and volunteer weed pulls; € Safety education to help you protect yourself, your children and your animals from plant toxins; and € Advice on the appropriate and correct use of herbicides and alternatives.
   To find out more about identifying, removing and controlling noxious weeds, please call (206) 296-0290 or visit the county's Web site at http://dnr.metrokc.gov/weeds.
   As authorized by state law, at least 16 Washington counties now have noxious weed assessments on their property tax bills.
   The fees range from $.85 to $11 per parcel, with the King County fee being the lowest in the state.