Yakima County chief gardeners join the fight against invasive species

We believe the Yakima County Harmful Weed Control Board education and public relations are key to fighting invasive species.

If landowners do not know there is a problem with the plant, they do not know that this should be monitored. We work with landowners to identify problem species and also develop control plans to address them.

We have supervisors who work with the owners when we find the weeds that are considered to be invasive and of serious concern to educate the community. However, we want to encourage education in Yakima County before we can find plants in the field and along the road. When we see them on the street, they are probably close to reproduction.

Our office offers presentations and field visits to educate landowners and residents of Yakima County about plants. We prepare presentations for groups based on age and interests, such as 4-H clubs, FFA chapters, after-school gardening, science and ag classes, road associations, rotary clubs, irrigation districts and landowners groups, clubs and associations. Presentations may vary on specific topics: missing ornamental plants, poisonous plants that threaten our family and pets, problematic plants in grazing or roadside areas, how invasive plants affect our environment, ecology, habitats, etc.

We are involved in activities in the county such as farm days, exhibitions and fun days to engage the public. We are here to help control the invasion of harmful weeds.

If you have any plants you want to identify, we will visit your site and maybe take a sample of the invasion and photos. If we do not know what the plant is, we will return the samples and photographs to the office and contact plant scientists for more identification. Landlords can contact our office at any time with questions.

Often the method of describing the plant over the phone works. Be sure to include the shape of the tree: round, crooked, twisted? Is the leaf dull, waxy, rough, smooth, heart-shaped, round, sharp, long and narrow? Does it grow upright or spread out on the ground? Is it wood? Does it have white juice when broken?

If you have a sample, please include the following.

The whole plant if possible. Include seeds, stems, leaves, flowers if they bloom, and if you go to seed. (We hope to identify problems before we plant seeds)

Where to find information: grazing land, grassland, landscape, roadside, Dutch bank, creek, pond, forest, desert, irrigated farmland, etc.

Place the whole plant in a plastic bag with a dry paper towel or paper towel. If you cannot reach us on the day of collection, store the bag in the refrigerator and bring it as soon as possible. Do not put water in the bag unless it is a plant growing in water; In a zip-enclosed bag, it often turns green before we see a plant in the water and on the floor of your vehicle. Do not throw the plant on your dashboard and forget about it for a week and wait for it to separate.

If you would like to send us a photo of the plant in question, please include the entire plant where you are growing, then photographs with neutral background; Keep a white or neutral colored wall away from other plants that may not be the same. Provide a size reference on the photo, showing your hand, colored pen, coin or other plant size, flower, leaf, etc.

You can email photos to susan.bird@co.yakima.wa.us or effie.shinn@co.yakima.wa.us. Make sure the subject line includes “Plant Identification”. If you would like to send the photos, call the Superintendent’s mobile phone numbers and give a description of the plant to our staff in the office.

If you would like to have a presentation for your group or have a demonstration of an activity, talk to Susan Bird, a service provider and educator, to plan and discuss the needs, age and size of the group or event. Education and public relations are our goals. It is important to build relationships with local people to control weeds. We are here to help.

Yakima County Weed Control Board Office at Yakima 1213 S. 18th St. Call 509-574-2180 for more information.

Garden problems? We encourage the public to visit the Master Gardening Clinic at Union Gap, Monday and Friday from 9 am to 4 pm and 4 pm. Bring a sample of the damaged plant in a sealed zip-sealed bag for better identification.

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