For many years, a successful weed awareness campaign called “Bag O’ Woad” operated in our area. This has resulted in much good in the fight against dyer’s woad. You may not always remember the name but, “that yellow weed” is, I dare say, on the radar of most county residents. Franklin County can be applauded for how years of diligent effort has kept this invader at bay. There is woad around, and it seems to be increasing, but many are the examples of where the weed has claimed victory and Franklin County isn’t one of them. We owe thanks to the woad warriors past and present.
Might I add however that weed control does not end with woad. The highly visible yellow blooms of dyer’s woad make us pay attention and (usually) act to control them. Then summer hits, we get busy, and there are many plants growing and blooming. This combination camouflages other noxious weeds that have the potential to be more impactful than the dreaded woad. We owe it to ourselves, as well as to the land stewards of past and future to do our part in the battle, even the war, the perpetual struggle against weeds.
The Thistles: Scotch, musk, bull, and Canadian thistles are wreaking havoc this year. If we are not careful, this unpleasant quartet will have us singing their off-key tune throughout the whole county. There are many effective resources available. If you are industrious, only the Canadian cousin isn’t silenced by a shovel and herbicides containing aminopyralid are exceptional weapons.
The Knapweeds: Spotted, diffuse, and Russian knapweeds occur in Franklin County. Yellow starthistle is another in this group. In my opinion, these are all riskier to leave unattended than Dyer’s woad. Do not make the mistake of patting yourself on the back for controlling woad, then sip lemonade while a knapweed stages a coup. These are not as conspicuous so learn to know what to look for. Killing one plant will save countless future headaches.
Leafy Spurge: Of all weeds I could mention, this is one of the scariest. In the future, controlling dyer’s woad will seem a breeze if we allow this one to dig in deep. Certain places throughout the county are seeing unchecked growth of this plant. It has deep vigorous roots that are very slow to relinquish land from its clutches. Consistent and persistent effort is required, and we cannot wait until it’s too late.
We are all busy. There is never ‘enough’ money. But all of us working together can make a difference. We have and will continue to make a difference with dyer’s woad, and we CAN make a difference with other weed invaders. The WILL is up to me and you.