Plants and Gardens
History of the Weed Patrol
When the Interurban Trail was constructed through Echo Lake Park, a number of shrub beds were added --some for beautification, others for wetland mitigation. Unfortunately, this meant that the soil was disturbed, creating an opening for the invasion of weeds. Hand weeding is not a part of the Shoreline Parks Department budget, so the weeds got completely out of control.
A number of neighborhood residents became concerned and started weeding on their own. Early in the spring of 2006, those residents approached Kirk Peterson at the Shoreline Parks Department and the Echo Lake Neighborhood Association board. Thus began the “Weed Patrol.” The volunteers worked on their own and in groups, several times aided by larger organizations including employees from the area Starbucks stores, missionaries from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and Windermere Realty. Through Kirk Peterson, they were provided with tools for the volunteers to use, beauty bark, wood chips, signs, and fliers. Altogether nearly 400 volunteer hours have been donated.
As a result, the weeds in the shrub beds are now under control. But continued effort is necessary to keep them that way. We are always looking for more volunteers to help. Anything with blooms -- particularly if they are yellow! -- should be pulled up and placed in the trash for disposal. Blackberries and scotch broom are the only problem shrubs. But please -- do NOT mess with the Lewisia-Stonecrop bed at the north end without express permission. That bed is special. There are flowering plants there (and only there), and they can be easily damaged.
It would be greatly appreciated if you help tidy the rest of the parkgrounds. There are several ways you can help:
1. Pick the flowers of the dandelion tribe and put them in the trash cans.
2. Pull a few plants and put them in trash or on east side of trail.
3. Weed on your own, and put the weeds in a pile on the east side of the trail (or better, in a trash bag).
4. Sign up, to be on call to join others in weeding effort.
5. Take part in the work parties to be held on Earth Day in April and at the July picnic.
For more information on how to help or to obtain weed bags send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dandelion Tribe
The Dandelion Tribe members all have yellow flowers. Actually they have many-petal flowers held together to form a single cluster. The seeds have hairs attached to them so they can float in the air. With the exception of the common dandelion, all are easy to pull. The common dandelion has a deep taproot and requires a pitchfork to loosen the soil enough to pull the roots out.
Common dandelion – 6 to 18 inches tall with single blossoms on straw-like stems.
Catsear – 6 to 18 inches with several to many blossoms on wiry branching stems.
Nipplewort – 2 to 6 feet tall with miniature dandelion blossoms in branching stems.
Sow thistle – 3 to 7 feet tall, with small blossoms and large leaves that wrap around the stems
Prickly lettuce – 3 to 9 feet tall, with many small blossoms and leaves with rows of spines along mid-rib and the leaf edges. It also called “compass plant” because the leaves point north-south or east-west.
Wall lettuce – 2 to 6 feet tall, with many small blossoms with only 5 petals.
Groundsel – 2 inches to 2 feet tall, with small, weak, juicy leaves and blossoms.
The Pea Family
These flowers come in many colors and forms, but each of the individual flowers looks like a miniature sweet pea.
8. Scotch Broom - 6 to 12 foot tall shrub with green wiry stems with yellow flowers and seeds in pods.
9. Vetch - Several kinds, but all have long vining stems that soon cover the nearby shrubs. One has white flowers that are so small one can hardly see them. Another has small, purplish-pink flowers that are quite pretty. The seeds are in pods.
10. Clover - several variations occur in the park plantings, some with large clusters of pink or white flowers, others with small clusters of yellow flowers.
NOTE: Information available on https://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification.aspx