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Noxious Weed Control Education

Program Contact: Grays Harbor County Weed Board
(360) 482-2265

What is a weed?

“A plant held to have no value, especially one growing plentifully or detrimentally in a garden or lawn” according to Webster’s Dictionary.

What is a Noxious weed?

A non-native plant designated as such by federal, state or county law as aggressive and/or injurious.

Prevention is the key to minimizing the hassle of weeds and unwanted plants.

What can you do to prevent weeds?

  • Stop yard waste dumping, composting is great, but dumping weeds on bluffs and shorelines is not. Weeds survive and use the waterway as a highway to new places of infestation.
  • Do not bring weed seeds in – seed travels in a variety of ways: on camping gear, boats and bait, bedding, livestock and feed, dried flower arrangements, potted or nursery plants, clothing, tires, and wind.
  • Do not allow weeds to go to seed. A few plants this year, will be hundreds next year.
  • Do not give them room to grow. Plant annuals between shrubs and small trees, or plant cover crops in between rows in the vegie garden. Maintain a healthy, vigorous lawn to avoid weed problems.
  • Mulch with sawdust, bark, cardboard, newspaper, rock, or gravel around and between plants.
  • Maintain healthy soil for desirable plants.

DSC00131Who do Noxious Weeds Hurt?

Noxious weeds are a problem for crops and farms, but they also have a huge impact on wildlife habitat. Some weeds are thorny and injure animals, but they also crowd out the native plants that wildlife feed on and nest in. Some are toxic to animals.

Aquatic weeds can clog waterways, preventing salmon from laying eggs or getting out of stream channels. Aquatic weeds can also ruin recreational and commercial fishing and shell-fishing, and make swimming very dangerous.

The cost for weed control affects us all, even if you’re an apartment dweller, controlling vegetation along roadways – and utility right of way corridors, is something we all pay for. Parks, State and National forests, school grounds and municipal grounds must all control noxious weeds. Lakes and waterways are especially vulnerable and very costly to restore.

Himalayan Knotweed
Himalayan Knotweed

What can I spray?

Contrary to what television ads tell you that you must do, pulling a few weeds is very good for you (see below). But there are times when using chemicals for weed control is necessary. Each year the Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook is published by agricultural experts from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Research based information about weeds in cropping systems, rights of way, and small farms and landscapes can be found.