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BEND, OR -- It’s the time of year when noxious weeds pop up across Central Oregon, and local experts say now is the time to take action before they dry out and provide the perfect fuel for a wildfire. Deschutes County Forester Ed Keith says invasive species officially designated as "noxious" range from highly common cheat grass to the attractive spotted knapweed (pictured), "That’s the plant that grows up to about knee-high, it’s just getting ready to flower – usually a purple flower, but sometimes shades of pink to purple to white. Some of the noxious weeds that we have do have a pretty flower, but they are typically highly invasive, they’re from other parts of the world. A lot of our noxious weeds are actually from Europe and Asia, so they don’t come here with a natural predator that keeps them in check."


Bend’s annual Let’s Pull Together weed pull event is Saturday, when volunteers clean up public areas around the city, "People have the opportunity, starting at 9 o’clock, to meet in three locations: Pilot Butte, the Old Mill District across from the footbridge, or Miller Elementary. Help pull weeds and, if you don’t know what is a noxious weed and what isn’t, we’ll have experts on site from our Noxious Weed Advisory Board to help." And, he tells KBND News, volunteers need to be ready for anything, volunteers should be ready for anything, "Definitely, if you have some gloves, bring them. We have them available on site. Things like Spotted Knapweed actually have chemicals in them that some people’s skin is sensitive to and we definitely want to protect people if they participate in the event." You can pre-register and get a t-shirt during the festivities.
Neighborhoods are also encouraged to get involved in preventing the spread of invasive plants. Complimentary yellow weed bags and noxious weed identification materials are available at Bend Public Works (62975 Boyd Acres Rd), Bend City Hall (710 NW Wall St, second floor) and Deschutes County Road Department (61150 SE 27th St). Bagged noxious weeds can be dropped at the Westside Venue in the Old Mill District, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; look for the Wintercreek Native Restoration trailer.
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with County Forester Ed Keith.

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