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Letters to the editor: June 1, 2011

Workshop can help with weed identification

A few years ago an unusual plant showed up along the street by our mailbox. The plant looked similar to a dandelion, but with large clusters of flowers, bright red-orange in color. I figured it was just some other species of dandelion, so when it began to spread, I didn't think a whole lot about it.

A couple years later I began to suspect the plant was probably orange hawkweed, an invasive species. Not wanting to encourage its' growth and having an aversion to using herbicides, I decided to try pulling it out by hand.

That's when I got acquainted with the root structure, and discovered it had already achieved a good stronghold. I warned my neighbor, who had somehow only been 'blessed' with a few plants, and tried to keep the plant under control, picking the blooms before they went to seed and digging up plants.

At the Sandy River Restoration Expo in April, I obtained a brochure produced by the Oregon Department of Agriculture describing orange hawkweed in detail. Returning home, I called the noxious weed phone line: 1-866-INVADER (1-866-468-2337) to report my situation.

Since then, representatives of the ODA and the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District have visited our home, starting the process to remove the weed from our yard and adjacent property at no cost to us.

We have been pleased with the prompt response and congenial attitude of the government employees, working together to stop this noxious weed from spreading.

An Invasive Plant Identification Workshop is being held Tuesday evening June 14 at the Zigzag Ranger Station. Pre-register by calling 503-668-1646.

You will get to see your government at work and learn how you can help protect your back yards and our watersheds and national forests.

Libby Medley

Sandy