Annual search for weeds in King County turns up early flowering shiny geranium and garlic mustard

Shiny geranium on a roadside in Kirkland (photo by Matt Below)

County noxious weed specialists are beginning their annual survey for state-listed noxious weeds in King County.  Known locations of noxious weeds are carefully checked for any plants coming up from seeds in the soil or that escaped last year’s weed control efforts. shiny-geranium-with-flower-and-buttercup-leaf-03-21-2016-MattBelowOne early season weed we are on the lookout for is shiny geranium.  Plants were recently spotted on a roadside in Kirkland and near the Cedar River.  Just starting to flower, this is the time to find it and remove it before it spreads by seed.

Shiny geranium looks a lot like herb-Robert, another noxious weed in the geranium family.  Herb-Robert has hairy stems and ferny leaves and shiny geranium has shiny stems and leaves.

Garlic mustard seedlings in March (photo by Roy Brunskill)

Garlic mustard is also an early season weed that weed specialists are looking for.  In some locations it is still at the seedling stage so you really have to know what to look for.

Tiny garlic mustard plants flowering in March (photo by Karen Peterson)

However, tiny flowering plants were found this week at Golden Garden Park in Seattle. Garlic mustard usually doesn’t flower until April, but perhaps with our mild winter we are going to see an early flowering season.

It’s also already possible to find young plants of later flowering species including wild chervil and tansy ragwort, especially if you know where to look from last year’s populations.  These weeds are already both visible on roadsides in King County.