The WeedWise program was proud to participate recently in an effort to control invasive orange hawkweed and meadow hawkweed along Lolo Pass Rd in the upper portions of the Sandy River watershed in Clackamas County. This work is an ongoing effort between the WeedWise program and our partners from the Mt Hood National Forest, the […]
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It isn’t everyday that a weed manager feels the need to trade in their work boots for a day spent surrounded by home decor and scented candles. Remarkably, such was the case this week for WeedWise program manager Sam Leininger. Early in the week Sam was alerted to the possibility that a national retailer, Pier […]
Since 2016, the WeedWise program has been working to control the largest known infestation of goatsrue (Galega officinalis) in Oregon. Goatsrue is an Oregon class A noxious weed and has been deemed a high priority for control and eradication because it is toxic to livestock and spreads easily. This federal and state noxious weed is only known at a handful of other sites across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
Goatsrue is a deep-rooted perennial, with hollow stems and compound alternate leaves. The compound leaves have a terminal leaflet and 6-10 pairs of leaflets. The tip of each leaflet rapidly narrows to a fine tip. Goatsrue has pea-like flowers that vary in color from purple to white. Flowers bloom from June to October and are clustered at the end of its branches or at the leaf axils. Unlike some other members of the pea family, goatsrue lacks tendrils and grows in a more upright and bushy form rather than as a vine. The seeds are contained in pods with up to 9 mustard-colored, oblong seeds. Each plant can produce 15,000 pods a year. Additionally, these seeds may remain viable for 5-10 years in the soil.
Goatsrue closely resembles some regionally rare native plants, so we encourage landowners to contact us if they think they may have goatsrue on their property.
What we Found
In May of 2016, during one of our planned weed surveys, one of our contracted survey crews discovered a large previously unknown population of goatsrue on two adjacent riparian properties along the Clackamas River. This infestation affects 14 acres and is the largest known infestation of goatsrue in Oregon. At that time, we began a management effort to contain and control this priority weed with the goal of eradication of the goatsrue as well as several other priority invasive plants present at these sites.
This discovery was found as part of extensive surveys of streamside properties along the Clackamas River initiated in 2015 and continuing into the present. Twenty-one priority invasive plant species were on our target list for these surveys. Some of these species had been documented in our region and some had not. These surveys help us to address new priority invasive plants and better manage priority invasive plants established here. We thank private landowners for allowing us to access their properties for these surveys!
What we are doing
The WeedWise Program initiated control soon after detection of this large infestation. Our approach began confirming the identity of the goatsrue. We then followed up with a thorough review of the biology and control of goatsrue. Most notably, we learned that goatsrue can have a long seed dormancy period allowing seeds to grow after 10 years in the soil. As a perennial weed with a deep taproot, it is all difficult to remove by hand. Therefore, our management goals were to prevent all seed production and to target the large root systems of existing plants.
Next, we researched management strategies appropriate for this plant and this site. We also consulted with the Oregon Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed Control Program and the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services who both have prior experience managing goatsrue. Based on this research, we selected two herbicides to treat the infestation: one to target upland populations and a second aquatically approved herbicide to treat infestations that occur near water. The herbicide applications were planned by the WeedWise program and implemented using licensed restoration contractors.
To date, our management efforts have been highly successful, but with the size and complexity of the site we did note some patches with regrowth after herbicide application, as well as new seedlings emerging. On follow-up monitoring of the site, we also found several overlooked patches that had grown in an among other vegetation. In response, our current efforts focus on continuing to scout for missed populations and to remove interspersed invasive Himalayan blackberry (Rubus bifrons) stands which may obscure goatsrue plants. We are carrying out multiple rounds of control each year to ensure that we are not letting any plants go to seed and to continue to address regrowth.
After two years of intensive control, we have dramatically reduced the populations and are on track to eradicate this population. Eradication will require ongoing monitoring and control to address the long seed dormancy. Although we won’t be walking away from the site anytime soon, we are optimistic knowing that the population is significantly reduced, and that we are committed to eradicating goatsrue from Clackamas County!
Project Photo Gallery
Do you think you’ve found a noxious weed? Here is how you can get help to identify and report your find! One of the most important aspects in controlling invasive weeds is to verify the identification if invasive weeds before you work to control them. Knowing the difference between an aggressive weed and a common […]
Garden loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) is one of the most recent additions to Oregon’s noxious weed list. As a class A noxious weed, the goal of land managers is to rapidly control infestations before they have a chance to gains a foothold. One critical component of this is approach is to increase awareness of this new […]
The old adage “many hands make light work” could not be truer when it comes to weed management. The WeedWise Program routinely works with a number of partnering entities and organizations across our region to combat invasive weeds. This include local, state, and federal agencies as well local non-profits and watershed councils. Our partnerships also […]
If you own livestock, now is the perfect time to secure your forage for the year. Hay production is at its peak, and there are lots of producers with ample supply. When purchasing hay it is important to consider the potential for introducing weeds through contaminated hay. One strategy to reduce the risk is to […]