Shiny Geranium: A Little Green Tsunami

Shiny Geranium on Smythe Road

Shiny Geranium is new to Ridgefield and Clark County.  It was listed as a class A weed by the state of Washington Department of Agriculture in 2009 and then a class B in 2015.  Class A lists are mandatory removal and Class B leave it up to the county.  King county requires removal but Clark County does not.

I had never heard of this little geranium before 2015.  I noticed a pretty little weed in the parking lot at the post office but didn’t know what it was.  Later, in October of that year, I found that it had turned a couple acres  green on some property north of Ridgefield.  Then it was found on Pioneer, mostly on the right of way from  S 9th Avenue to the junction.  Since it only seemed to be in a few places I thought it might be possible to control it and prevent it’s spread.  I’ve worked very hard to eliminate it, putting in hundreds of hours.  Last year, I put in several hours/week on six acres north of town.  Since it is an annual and the seeds germinate after the first fall rains, the strategy was to prevent it from going to seed.  It was a shock to see how much germination there was.  I would treat an area and a few weeks later would find many new plants.

Shiny geranium is rapidly spreading in the Carty Unit

There  is a lot of it in the Carty Unit of the refuge.   This fall I found it on Smythe Road. There are patches on Bertsinger Rd and on Carty Road.  It is well established on both sides of the road south of the Elani Casino.  I thought I could keep it away from Allen Canyon Creek but this fall I found it a few feet away from the stream.  Saturday afternoon, I went for a walk and took a short cut above Abrams Park through the Frisbee golf course.   In an open area there was a patch of this geranium that covered several hundred square feet and there was another patch further away.

Shiny geranium on Frisbee golf course at Abrams Park

I’ve decided to give up on it as it is just overwhelming.  The property owner north of town spent over $1000 on herbicides recommended by Clark County Weed Management.  We both worked very hard the past three to four years.  It has been reduced and grass was planted in areas we have cleared.  To maintain control  however,  would take too much work each year.

This weed is spreading quickly and will be a threat to the few natural areas we have left.  It will likely thrive in the Carty Unit and would take an extraordinary effort to contain it.  There are 4 or 5 introduced geraniums in Ridgefield and one or more is likely on almost everyone’s property.  Where these geraniums are, likely in a few years, shiny geranium will be there too.  It is different from other geraniums in that it forms a thick dense carpet that prevents other plants from growing.

According to a weed management agency in Victoria BC, it hybridizes with the other geraniums.  That will make it interesting.  There is quite a bit of it in the north parking lot of the post office if you want to see it.

By Paul Snoey

About Paul Snoey

I have a degree in Biology and Environmental Science from WSU Vancouver
I am very fond of Gee Creek and Allen Canyon Creek and do a lot of volunteer work to restore these creeks.

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