Some shiny geranium seedlings on 304th Street near NW 71st Avenue.
I had never heard of this geranium six years ago. First, I noticed a pretty little weed growing on the curbs and curb stops at the post office parking lot. Later, on a property near Allen Canyon Creek I noticed a couple acres had turned bright green with tiny seedlings. A photo sent to Clark County Weed Management identified it as shiny geranium, an invasive species. Since it was in only a few places in Ridgefield I thought it could be controlled and I did my best. On the six acres near Allen Canyon Creek, the property owner and I worked hard to control it. The owner spent over one thousand dollars on an herbicide that was recommended. We did have some success, eliminating over 90% of it. But to be successful you need to eliminate all of it since it is such a prolific seed producer. I must have put in several hours a week last year looking for every single plant. It’s an annual and the strategy was to kill it before it makes seeds. Seeds germinate after the first fall rains. Last fall, after seeing so many seedlings come up after the first rains I knew the effort was futile. So, I’ve given up. In riding my bicycle around town and north of town I see it is almost everywhere now. It covers much of the ground in the northern part of the Carty Unit and is rapidly spreading. It has been amazing to watch. In another decade it will be almost every where it can possibly grow.
Some of the worst weedy species I know along Gee Creek, are blackberries, English Ivy, and reed canary grass. It likely won’t be as damaging as those plants, but still can smother other small native plants and seedlings. It is still spreading rapidly so we won’t see how destructive it can be for a while. It’s an awesome weed with an amazing ability to produce seeds. Now only that, but It can catapult seeds more than 20 feet away. I’ve seen the seedlings on tree limbs several feet off the ground.
It’s interesting to see a new weed species come in to our area. Still, I wish it could have been contained. For a property owner on say, a 7500 sq. ft. lot, it can likely be contained with a standard lawn herbicide. In areas of acreage, especially wooded, it will eventually get there and have an impact. From what I am seeing this fall, shiny geranium has made quite an impact in only five years or so.
BY Paul Snoey