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County weed department lands pair of grants

The Umatilla County Weed Department has secured grants to treat common bugloss and tansy ragwort.
George Plaven

East Oregonian

Published on March 6, 2017 12:01AM

Last changed on March 6, 2017 9:37PM

Common bugloss

Photo contributed by Oregon Department of Agriculture

Common bugloss

Tansy ragwort

Photo contributed by Oregon Department of Agriculture

Tansy ragwort


The Umatilla County Weed Department has received more than $25,000 from the state to uproot two species of noxious weeds invading local farms and watersheds.

Officials plant to treat 90 acres of tansy ragwort near Milton-Freewater and Pilot Rock, and another 200 acres of common bugloss in the Walla Walla River Basin. Both projects were funded by a pair of grants from the Oregon State Weed Board.

Tansy ragwort, with its dark green leaves and bright yellow flowers, has been found on Saddle Mountain above Milton-Freewater and in the Bear Creek drainage above Pilot Rock. It is toxic to cattle, and both areas are used primarily for grazing.

“Our goal is to reduce the seed bank, eradicate and control the spread of tansy ragwort throughout the county,” said Teddy Orr, county weed department supervisor.

Of the 90 acres treated, 60 will be in the Saddle Mountain area and 30 on Bear Creek. Workers will continue to monitor another 2,500 acres between the two sites.

Common bugloss was first discovered locally in Meacham Canyon, and traced back to the Walla Walla River drainage near Milton-Freewater. It is a perennial herb, growing about two feet tall with deep blue or purple flowers. Once the plant spreads into an alfalfa field, it can be difficult to control and molds hay from the inside out.

Orr said the weed poses a threat to farmers, and the department plans to target 200 acres of farm and residential land around the Walla Walla River. Letters will be sent to private landowners asking for permission to access and treat common bugloss on their property.

Treatment is expected to begin April 1 and will be finished by Nov. 1, roughly the time when common bugloss blooms for the year. Tansy ragwort control is expected to run from June 1 through Sept. 15.

Anyone with questions about weed identification and control should contact the county weed department at 541-278-5462.

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Contact George Plaven at gplaven@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0825.



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