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Noxious Weeds

Noxious and invasive weeds are a big problem in our community. Most notable are the many varieties of thistles and their beautiful flowering heads full of new seeds. At our August 17th meeting, the County Council discussed the management of weeds. Weeds are more than just a major irritant for residential lawns and gardens, depending on the species; they have the ability to move into forest and agriculture crop land causing major decreases in productivity and quality. Although native plants in established areas are somewhat resistant to weeds, the problem has become worse as economic conditions have left unsold and unfinished lots in subdivisions where disturbed soils attract the invaders. Once weeds are established, they are very difficult to remove. Seeds from some weed varieties will sprout many years after dropping making control a long term problem. It’s easier to keep them out than control them later.

Several years ago, the County partnered with other agencies to create a CWMA or County Weed Management Area. The CWMA received grants and other funding in order to control weeds around the county, however, the problem is too big for existing resources. There are not enough employees and time to accomplish the task. Weak enforcement rules also allow careless land owners to ignore the law as it applies to control of noxious weeds on their property.

In order to have a better chance of slowing down this weed invasion, the county will be adopting a new weed plan with stronger enforcement tools. Notably, it will give the county the legal right to require individual land owners to control their weeds or make them pay to have someone else do it. It does very little good to control your weeds if your neighbors refuse. Those seeds will spread to re-infest everyone else. Even though many species have seeded off for this year, you can still accomplish a little by cutting weeds, especially thistles and by disposing of seed heads. Thistles are not the only weeds we are concerned with. By calling the county public works department, you can receive a booklet about weeds in our area. It will help you identify those you may have on your property. In the mean time, we will be gearing up for next year to make sure we do a better job. In the spring, I’ll talk more about it and let you know about the plan, including chemicals and equipment, available to help property owners solve weed problems on their property.

As always, if you have questions, please drop me an email at


BY MIKE KOHLER   08/22/2011

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