Below are some of our favorite resources for plant identification, weed management, and an array of other topics. At the Mason County WSU Extension Office, we also have hard copies of many resources regarding noxious weed management and other natural resource subjects.
This list isn’t all-inclusive, but it is a useful starting point.
- Plant Identification
If you have unknown and mysterious plants in your landscape, considering trying out these resources to identify species. You can also send us an email with photos of plants or come by the WSU Extension office for help with positive identifications.
University of Washington Burke Museum – Herbarium Collection – Presents photographs and information for the vascular plants, macrofungi, and lichenized fungi of Washington state. Photographs are accompanied by distribution maps, species descriptions, synonymy, and links to additional resources. An easy-to-use identification key is provided for vascular plants.
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board – Identify a Noxious Weed -Fill out the search form and find matching results from over 140 noxious weeds in WA State.
WSU Clark County Extension – NorthWest Plants Database system – database which provides full size photos for identification purposes; search plants by common traits; growing tips for plants; and categorized images of plant types. Native and introduced ornamental plants.
Biological Weed Control at the University of Idaho – Weed Identification Series – Videos to help identify some more common noxious weeds in the Pacific Northwest.
“Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast” by Jim Pojar & Andrew MacKinnon – A field guide that features 794 species of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, aquatics, grasses, ferns, mosses and lichens, including introduced species.
“Flora of the Pacific Northwest An Illustrated Manual“ by C. Leo Hitchcock & Arthur Cronquist – Comprehensive identification key for plant species in the Pacific Northwest utilized by professional botanists and natural resource managers as the definitive reference for the region’s flora.
“Vascular Plants of the South Sound Prairies” by Frederica Bowcutt – field guide for the vascular plants of the south Puget Sound prairie-oak ecosystems
“Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary” by James G. Harris & Melinda Woolf – Over nineteen hundred clear illustrations of terms used in plant identification keys and descriptions. It also includes definitions for more than twenty-seven hundred taxonomic terms.
- Fostering Native Plant Species
So you want to incorporate native plant species into your landscape. Hooray! Below is a list of resources on how to get started planting native vegetation, as well as some places to source native plant stock.
Sound Native Plants – Information Sheets – These information sheets cover a wide variety of topics, including nursery topics; project planning; site preparation; storm water management; and much more.
Washington Native Plant Society – Native Plant Directory and Landscaping Resources – The Native Plant Directory provides basic information on Washington State native plants including identifying features, plant propagation and landscaping uses, ethnobotanical uses, and conservation and restoration uses. The Landscape Resources page provides printable brochures on an array of topics.
Native Plant Salvage Foundation – Learn – Self-paced and in some in-person courses on naturescaping; storm water gardens; etc.
“Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest” by Arthur Kruckeberg – A resource for Northwest gardeners, from novice to expert, on how to imagine and realize their perfect sustainable and native landscape.
Native Plant Stock Sources
Washington Native Plant Society – Upcoming WNPS Native Plant Sales – Links are available, with local chapter information available by including plant lists, payment options and planning resources.
Native Plant Salvage Foundation – The Native Plant Salvage Foundation hosts plant sales annually with a variety native plant species. Get signed up for their mailing list to be notified of upcoming plant sales.
Mason Conservation District – Annual Plant Sale – The Mason Conservation District hosts an annual plant sale in early spring.
Washington Association of Conservation Districts Plant Materials Center – wholesale provider of native plants for restoration projects.
Fourth Corner Nurseries, Bellingham, WA – wholesale provider of native plants.
Center for Natural Lands Management – South Sound Native Plant Nursery – Hundreds of pounds of native prairie seed are grown at two seed farms in the South Sound region. Contact the nursery supervisory for current availability
Northwest Meadowscapes – A woman and minority-owned small business that sells native grass and wildflower seed for pollinator conservation, rain gardens, meadows, and wildlife habitat in Oregon and Washington.
- Weed Management
Have you identified invasive plants or noxious weeds growing in your landscape? Below are resources for determining the best management methods for controlling infestations of noxious and invasive plant species. Always utilize an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach by combining prevention, cultural, physical/mechanical, and in certain cases, biological or chemical control.
University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program – Weed Control User Tool (WeedCUT) – This decision support tool provides land managers with guidance on a range of methods for managing invasive plants in wildlands using non-chemical approaches exclusively, for situations when use of herbicides is restricted or not desired.
Oregon State University – Solve Pest Problems – A science-based guide for the Pacific Northwest. Diagnose and solve problems with pests, weeds, trees, and bushes, effectively and with low-risk; includes invasive species.
Mason County Noxious Weed Control Program – Weed Alerts – Our Program is continuously updating our website with new weed alert publications. Don’t see a weed alert for what plant your wanting more information on? Email us to request a weed alert.
The North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) – Biocontrol Factsheets – Peer-reviewed weed biocontrol publications for use by managers and landowners. Subject matter experts are developing a series of factsheets that cover invasive plants and their associated biological control agents in North America.
“Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States” by Joseph M. DiTomaso et al – A comprehensive book which focuses on control options for invasive plants in natural areas. It covers 340 species in 13 western states, covering rangelands, grasslands, pastures, riparian and aquatic areas. Each species account includes chemical, mechanical, biological and cultural control options, based on literature and the personal experience of the authors. MCNWCB has two copies of this book. Please stop by the WSU Extension Office if you would like to borrow them.
- Herbicide Labels & Safety Information
If you have questions regarding the use of herbicides, contact the Mason County Noxious Weed Control Program for more specific information. Below are a few resources for finding updated labels and safety information.
CDMS Label Database – A database of up-to-date pesticide labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
Pesticide Information Center OnLine Database – PICOL contains selected information from pesticide products registered in either Oregon, Washington, or in both states.
Pesticide Safety Information
Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbooks – Pesticide Safety – Additional information on pesticide safety practices.
National Pesticide Information Center – NPIC provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions about pesticides and their use. NPIC is a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Other Mason County Organizations & Conservation Programs
There are many organizations here in Mason County, WA dedicated to educating and assisting the public on conservation and restoration of the natural environment. Some offer financial assistance programs to landowners involved in restoration on their land.
To narrow down landowner conservation programs, consider using the Cascades to Coast Landscape Collaborative’s Conservation Program Explorer. This tool helps to raise awareness of available programs and connect landowners to agencies and organizations that implement these programs.
Below are a few organizations that Mason County Noxious Weed Control Board partners with to provide conservation programming to Mason County residents:
Mason County WSU Extension Small Farms Program – The Mason County Small Farms Program is designed to provide technical assistance, educational opportunities, economic opportunities, and a direct link to state and federal resources available to family farmers.
The Mason Conservation District – As a non-regulatory agency, Mason Conservation District provides service solely at the request of the property owner. District staff will assess the landowner’s desired result and provide technical assistance and in some cases, financial assistance to achieve that goal. They provide confidential counsel to landowners without risk of regulation.
The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group – The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group strives to deepen the connection between land, people, and salmon through research, restoration, and education. Their mission is to ensure that wild salmon are once again abundant in the Pacific Northwest.
WA State Department of Natural Resources Small Forest Landowner Office – The Small Forest Landowner Office (SFLO) at Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers assistance to small forest landowners to protect and promote the ecological and economic viability of their forestlands.
Natural Resource Conservation Service – Local Service Centers – USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs.