Pull together: volunteers needed to check weeds at Mount Spokane

These are photos of Knapweed taken at Saltese Uplands where it has taken over much of what was once grassland in Spokane Valley.  The
These are photos of Knapweed taken at Saltese Uplands where it has taken over much of what was once grassland in Spokane Valley. The "gray haze" you see along the top of the vegetation is caused by all the dry seed heads from the previous year - very bad sign that they are spreading rapidly. (courtesy)

STATE PARKS — A group of volunteers from various local groups  — more are needed! — are meeting Wednesday in an effort to curb the spread of knapweed in Mount Spokane State Park.

To join the group, wear good boots and meet at 10 a.m. at the hairpin turn parking lot inside the park at the Mount Kit Carson Loop Road trailhead.

Bags will be provided but bring gloves and whatever else you need to be comfortable working outdoors in the sun (water, hat, sun glasses, snacks/lunch, sun screen etc).  A small spade or old screwdriver might also help. 

The group plans to work for a couple hours, break for lunch and then perhaps hike the park trails in the afternoon.

Read on for details about spotted knapweed from from the Spokane County Weed Board:

This plant was introduced from Eurasia as a contaminant of alfalfa and clover seed and is the most recognized noxious weed in Spokane County. Knapweed readily establishes itself on any disturbed soil and the early spring growth makes it competitive for soil moisture and nutrients. Habitat: Spotted Knapweed infests vacant lots, pastures, rangeland, roadsides, stream banks and landscaping. It releases an allelopathic substance that inhibits the growth of surrounding vegetation. (So the native plants are crowded out)

It is a very aggressive plant that can infest large areas quickly which is why it is important to keep it from going to seed. An infestation of knapweed can impair the quality of wildlife habitat, impact the native plant community, increases soil erosion and decreases the quality of recreational lands and can pose wildfire hazards.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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