General stuff about noxious weeds, part 2

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You may recall from our first chapter that in 1974 the Federal Noxious Weed Act codified and defined noxious weeds at the federal level. Following this example, each state then further categorized and refined the meaning of noxious weeds for their specific goals.

According to Washington State Law RCW 17.10.010, “Noxious weed” means a plant that when established is highly destructive, competitive or difficult to control by cultural or chemical practices. This definition too, makes it very clear that prevention is the ticket.

We remember that caution when purchasing seed is important to prevent this vector of contamination. This can help us recognize and consider another common and sneaky vector: feeds.

The circus is in town. The big final invitational rodeo roundup is this weekend. What do these have to do with noxious invasive weeds? You guessed it: feeds. Traveling shows with animals are weed vector cruise lines. How about seeds as feeds? Ever see a birdfeeder? There can be a variety of non-indigenous species in those mixes.

The ancient ritual of feeding farm animals is repeated daily. More and more, the hay and grains being fed are not necessarily locally sourced. Whether from another part of the county, state or parts unknown, feeds are an invasive vector for noxious weeds and merit attention to prevent their spread.

It’s true that weeds can spread naturally, but people don’t think about how often they can be a vector for spreading weeds. There is a wide array of ways that weeds are geographically moved. It is quite easy to see that the movement or relocation of vegetative material is a potential vector of invasion.

Keeping that in mind, let’s have a brief look at another unexpected, yet obvious “means of infestation.” Heavy equipment is a major vector for moving invasive weeds. Seeds get trapped on the equipment in soil or mud, and are then transported to another site. When moving equipment or bringing in a rental, the watch word is “clean.”

Awareness of how new noxious weed infestations get started can bring big returns in the future.

If you have questions about noxious weeds or need help identifying a plant, please feel free to call our office at (509) 754-2011, Ext. 4710, or visit our website at www.grantcountyweedboard.org.

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