3 invasive weeds the county wants to destroy

The Snohomish County Council is opting to dig out more money for weed workers rather than give up the fight against some of the county’s original noxious weeds.

Three weeds — Canada thistle, bull thistle and some types of hawkweed — were put on the chopping block by the county Noxious Weed Control Board amid budget concerns. They said they couldn’t afford to focus on those weeds any longer in the face of a list more than 100 weeds long.

Canada thistle can take over grazeable pasture land and was one of the first weeds tackled by the county noxious weed control board.

The County Council was swayed to keep the weeds on the list by letters from groups concerned that the county was turning away from controlling Canada and bull thistle, Councilman Mike Cooper said.

“It’s important for us to keep after it,” Cooper said. The council plans to find about $5,000 or $6,000 in county accounts, Cooper said.

“If it was really expensive, we would have had longer discussions,” he said. Final action is planned at a future council meeting.

The shot of money is needed to keep the thistles on the list and allow workers to respond to complaints, county noxious weed coordinator Sonny Gohrman said.

The council move “gives enough money to concentrate that much on thistle, and contact people we’ve contacted in the past to get them to mow their fields, respond to complaints and stop by at the worst-case scenarios we see when we drive by,” Gohrman said. “Without the $5,000, we would not respond to complaints and we wouldn’t be doing anything with thistle.”

The county’s weed police have about $220,000 to spend this year on mowing and spraying herbicide on roadside plants and teaching property owners how to control the spread of nonnative weeds. The money comes from the county and state and federal grants.

The board felt it had little choice but to cut thistles and hawkweeds as a way to prioritize. The county’s weed list blossomed to about 100 weeds, Gohrman said. Gohrman and the board were frustrated they were trying to do too much and were spread too thin.

Tansy ragwort is the county’s biggest priority because it is poisonous to horses and cattle; knotweed and spartina come in a close second because they can choke out wildlife habitat.

The U.S. Forest Service and County Conservation District wrote letters asking the county to hold the line on thistles.

Left unchecked, thistles increase rapidly and hurt hay growers, Snohomish Conservation District manager Kim Levesque wrote.

“Thistles are one of the main weeds people are concerned about, besides tansy ragwort, for (grazeable) pasture productivity,” Levesque said. Cutting it from the list also would make it harder to persuade the public to control the weeds, she said.

Reporter Jeff Switzer: 425-339-3452 or jswitzer@heraldnet.com.

Three weeds back on “bad” list

Bull thistle: A purple flower that is a problem in pastures, vacant lots, roadsides and industrial areas. Chokes out grass production in pastures. Terribly thorny and can be invasive if not controlled. Cut the tap root and it dies.

Nonnative hawkweeds: Roadside problem. Interbreeding and hybrid plants force Hawkweed experts to disagree about which hawkweed is which.

Canada Thistle: A purple flower that is a problem in pastures, vacant lots and roadsides and will invade into plowed fields and native growth protection areas. To learn more about Canada thistle, go to www.nwcb.wa.gov/weed_info/Cirsium_arvense.html.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist identified in fatal crash near Lake Stevens

Anthony Palko, 33, died Monday night after colliding with a passenger car. The juveniles in the car were taken to the hospital.

Marysville
Police: Marysville man shot sword-wielding roommate in self-defense

The roommates were arguing over eBay sales, according to police. Then one of them allegedly brandished a two-foot sword.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Everett boy, 12, identified as Davies Beach drowning victim

Malachi Bell was one of three swimmers in distress Sunday in Lake Stevens. He did not survive.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

People gather to watch the Thunder on the Bay Fireworks from Legion Memorial Park on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Festivities abound in Snohomish County this Fourth of July

Here’s where to find local parades, street fairs and fireworks shows.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, left, gets the first shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, from Elizabeth Smalley, right, a medical assistant at a Sea Mar Community Health Center in Olympia, Wash. Inslee's wife Trudi also received the first dose of the vaccine. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Governor wants to make vaccine mandate permanent for new hires

Jay Inslee also wants to require current and future state employees keep up with their shots, if they want to keep their jobs.

Sandra Oleson, center, holds up a “Protect Our Rights” sign and shouts for support from passing vehicles during a protest against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022, along Broadway in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Biden assures Inslee of federal support to preserve abortion access

In the wake of Roe v. Wade’s overturning, the president and nine Democrat governors swapped strategies Friday.

Tulalip council members and tribal members watch as Governor Jay Inslee signs bill HB 1571 into law at the Tulalip Resort on Thursday, March 31, 2022 in Tulalip, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Washington launches new Indigenous missing person alert system

It’s similar to an Amber Alert. Tulalip families of the missing have called the program a good first step.

Jenson Hankins address the court during his resentencing at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Thursday, June 30, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Man gets reduced sentence for 2003 Marysville ambush murder

“I’ve wanted to apologize for a long time,” said Jenson Hankins, who was 16 when he killed John Jasmer near Marysville.

Most Read