Letter: Research before you plant to avoid noxious weeds

December 16, 2013 

Letter: Research before you plant to avoid noxious weeds

As a member of the Washington Native Plant Society, I look forward to articles in the Tri-City Herald on gardening, especially those with information on plants that require little or no water in our area.

An article in the Dec. 6 Herald focused on "bulletproof plants." I'd like to add another idea to the recommendations -- find out whether the plants or seeds you plan to buy are on the state's noxious weed list. Plants are put on the noxious weed list because they have a tendency to spread into the agricultural and wild spaces, becoming so dense that they choke out native vegetation or become an agricultural problem.

The article suggested butterfly bush, which is on the Washington weed list. Varieties that have fertile seeds cannot be sold in the state. The Miss Molly variety listed in the article has sterile seeds and won't spread, although other varieties may. Ask the nursery before you buy.

Buy a different plant that looks nice but won't spread or, better yet, buy a plant native to our area. You'll help the native plants, the farmers and the noxious weed board, and you might not have to use as much water. Information on weeds and alternatives can be found at tinyurl.com/weed-board.

MICKIE CHAMNESS, Richland

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