Weeds are defined as plants growing in places where they are not wanted. The most common terms for classifying weeds are noxious and invasive. Noxious weeds can cause harm to thenatural environment, humans and animals; invasive weeds proliferate, crowding out desired vegetation and creating mono-cultures leading to declines in habitat diversity. Weed management never stops. Weeds that appear to be suppressed may re-emerge and new weeds are introduced. Reducing soil disturbance is key to controlling weeds, along with regular monitoring and management.
Importance of Weed Management
Invasive plants spread quickly, choking out native species. Weeds once established can become very difficult to eradicate. Early detection is essential. Regularly walking your property and learning to identify local problem weeds and the safest means of removal will help prevent a large infestation. Invasives can be found both on land and in water. Noxious weeds can be harmful to animals and humans. Some weeds if eaten, can make people and animals sick, and if touched can cause rashes or cuts. Weeds stress the natural ecosystem and negatively impact watersheds by displacing native and desirable plants and wildlife habitat. They also negatively affect timber and agriculture industries. Partnerships between local residents, the state, county, and cities can help bring us closer to eradicating noxious and invasive weeds in Marion County.
Weed Control District
Marion County has a weed control district that spans the entire county outside of the urban areas and is managed by Marion County Public Works. Its goals are to educate citizens on weed issues, establish effective weed prevention and control measures and increase their ability to implement weed management throughout the county. Property owners are encouraged to control any noxious weeds on their property that have been identified by the weed inspector. A weed inspector for the county can issue property owners a notice that requires them to remove and prevent weeds that are specified on the notice. If the problem is not resolved, the county may step in and do the work then charge the property owner.
It is encouraged for property owners to work with neighbors on weed management because of the transient nature of weeds. Be aware that different weeds require different management strategies to control. Identifying weed threats on your property is the first step to early detection and rapid response. Here are some other strategies for managing weeds:
- Prevention: Keep your soil covered with desirable vegetation and make sure not to transport weeds on boat, motors, or equipment. Use native or non-invasive vegetation to out-compete noxious weeds. Quickly respond to any new weed infestations.
- Mechanical: Pulling and mowing weeds before they seed can help stop them from spreading.
- Grazing: Allow livestock to graze weeds before they set seed. Since animals can transport seed in their fur and in their gut, don’t move them from a weedy area to a weed free area.
- Chemicals: Herbicides are commonly used to kill weeds. Be sure to read the labels prior to application. Utilize weather tools, buffers or other practices to minimize any transport to water by runoff or drift.
Weeds travel by many means: people, animals, wind, water, machinery, etc. Here are some practices that will help limit the spread of invasive and noxious weeds on your property and throughout the county:
- After working with or walking through weeds or invasives, wash your clothing, boots or machinery to remove any remaining residue or plant seeds before moving to another area.
- Use only native or non-invasive species when planting new vegetation. Invasives are commonly used unknowingly as ornamentals.
- Dump fish tanks/aquariums down the drain or into the trash. Many aquarium plants and animals are aquatic invasives.
- Buy fire wood locally. Weeds and pests can be transported in wood.
- Clean boats of all vegetation and aquatic life after each use. CLEAN,DRAIN, and DRY.