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Garden Coach on Noxious Weeds – What Are They & What to Do About Them

January 30, 2008

Weeds come in many forms. They are defined in many ways. Though they may be “a plant whose virtue has yet to be discovered” (Emerson; see earlier post), they may also be dangerous to humans, livestock or the overall ecology of the area.

A Sunny Field of Dandelion

A Sunny Field of Dandelion

Because some weeds fall into this more “dangerous” classification, going beyond just a mild annoyance to the person tending a garden, various federal, state, county and even city-wide agencies rank weeds into various classification categories. In Washington State, we have a State-wide noxious weed board, which ranks weeds into three basic categories:

  • Class A: Non-native plant in limited in distribution in Washington and require eradication. Example: Giant Hogweed
  • Class B: Non-native plants in limited distribution in some areas, absent in others and in wide distribution in other areas. These weeds must be contained in existing areas and all efforts made to keep them from spreading. Example: Herb Robert (aka Stinky Bob)
  • Class C: Non-native plants in wide distribution throughout the state. Counties may enforce eradication or work on educating public about the weed’s issues. Example: English Ivy

For more information on how and why weeds are placed in each class and how to manage them in your own garden, visit the Washington State Noxious Weed List Webpage. If you live in the greater Seattle area and would like help differentiating your weeds from your desirable plants and getting tips on how to deal with the weeds once you have identified them, please contact Garden Mentors for a weed-identification session now!

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