Brushing boots really works to keep weeds on site

Why clean your equipment after a long exhausting day controlling noxious weeds? One of the primary modes of weed dispersal is seeds or other propagules hitching a ride on boots, shovels, pant legs and paws.

Brushing dirt off of boots to prevent spread of weeds

Brushing boots helps prevent weeds from spreading to new places.

In the case of garlic mustard, the seeds are very small and dark and are not going to be visible when they are hiding in the dirt. The picture below illustrates the number of garlic mustard plants that might have been transferred to a new site, had the crews working at this site not taken the precaution of sitting down on this log and cleaning off their boots and equipment before leaving. In this case, the garlic mustard did not leave the infested site with the crew.

Garlic mustard seedlings line this log where boots were brushed after workers were in garlic mustard infested areas.

Garlic mustard seedlings line this log where boots were brushed after workers were in garlic mustard infested areas. Photo by Karen Peterson.

If we are to prevent noxious weeds from spreading, everyone working in weed infested sites will need to make this a part of their regular routine. The time and energy it takes to thoroughly clean your boots and equipment on site is a small price to pay for the time, expense and heartbreak of finding and controlling a whole new site. [Editor’s note: this post written by Karen Peterson, Noxious Weed Specialist with the King County Noxious Weed Control Program]

Cleaning the paws of a dog to prevent the spread of weeds

Clean the paws of your pets to keep them from being a weed vector.

Washing mud off boots with water and a brush to stop weeds from spreading.

Washing mud off boots takes both water and a brush, but it’s worth it to keep weeds from spreading.

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