In the ever-growing fight against invasive plants, help will come during a workshop

With all of the wars continuing around the world, it is easy to overlook the fight in Sandy, Welches, Government Camp and nearby communities.

Local residents are at war with invasive plant species that threaten to overtake, suffocate and kill the desirable plants.

And since desirable plants are partially responsible for the high quality of life for local residents, it makes sense for everyone who has opportunities to be involved in reducing invasive species.

These kill-hungry plants are found in the city, in rural residential areas, in the woods, near a stream, in our gardens, at the edge of a lake and alongside trails.

The opportunity to affect the growth of these bad-boy plants, nipping them in the bud, is afforded to anyone with a little time, according to Russ Plaeger, land stewardship coordinator for the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council (SRBWC).

A workshop has been created for gardeners, riverfront residents, hikers, anglers and others who enjoy the local forests and rivers.

The workshop will teach participants how to recognize new invasive plants that are of local concern. It will gather area residents who can report sightings and stop the spread of these plants as well as learn how to control invasive plants.

'Once you learn to identify them,' Plaeger said, 'you'll be able to save yourself a lot of time and hard work by spotting an invasive and nipping the problem in the bud.'

Proactively, the SRBWC would like to send out some scouts to 'keep our beautiful mountain communities free of new invasive plants.'

'The Forest Service is concerned about the introduction of new invasive plants such as Yellow archangel and Garlic mustard that are able to spread aggressively and thrive on shady, forested sites,' said David Lebo, botanist for the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Anyone interested in helping can adopt a trail or an area and monitor it during the year. It's important, Plaeger says, to spot and treat new problems in the early stages.

'There was a time, many years ago, when Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom were new to this area,' Plaeger said. 'Over time, they spread to the point where now they are a widespread headache for many local residents.

'We are working to reduce the chances that some of the new invasive plants will become bad problems similar to blackberries or English ivy.'

But some of the invaders do not restrict themselves to the wild; they'll enter anyone's garden with the slightest invite.

'Although some invasive plants are attractive and still available from nurseries, they can become a real nuisance if they escape from your garden,' Plaeger said. 'Yellow archangel is certainly one to avoid. There are local reports of it outcompeting English ivy, which says something about this plant.'

This free workshop is co-sponsored by the SRBWC and the Mt. Hood National Forest. Plant identification booklets will be given to participants. In addition to photos, some live specimens will be brought to the workshop.

Lebo and Plaeger will lead the two-hour session, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at the Zigzag Ranger Station, 70220 Highway 26.

Plaeger has asked everyone to pre-register so he can plan the quantity of materials needed. To register or for information, call 503-668-1646 or send email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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