Knapweed Under Attack!

North Fork Weed Wranglers with their sacks of weedsThe knapweed at Sondreson Meadow was under attack on Thursday by the North Fork Weed Wranglers, a committee of the North Fork Landowners Association. The weed pull was organized by Donna Harrison, committee chair. Kat Pine, the Education/Compliance Officer from the Flathead County Weed Department joined the group under cloudy skies to add her expertise to the search and eradication of knapweed. Many bags of knapweed were hauled away by Kat.

On Tuesday, July 19th, is the Annual Weed Roundup. Meet at Sondreson Community Hall at 10AM. There will be weed identification in the morning and weed pulling in the afternoon. Bring your own weeds for identification. Please bring water, lunch, gloves, and garbage bags.

The Weed Wranglers would like to remind landowners that we are responsible for controlling noxious and invasive weeds on our properties.

Montana Land Reliance Spotted Knapweed Biocontrol Workshop – August 21

Following is a message from Tris Hoffman, Weed Coordinator for the Forest Service… Hello everyone! Attached is a flyer for a biological control (bug) workshop in Kalispell on August 21st from 1PM-6PM at the Flathead Valley Community College Arts and Technology Building. The field portion of the workshop is currently planned at a gravel pit west of Tally Lake where we have introduced 2 kinds of knapweed-eating insects. I know all this is a long distance from ya’ll, but if you happened to already be in town or couldn’t get enough pounding on the wash-boarded road, register and join in!

This workshop is free of charge, but you need to register in advance. Contact Mark at 406-837-2178 or

Yellow Hawkweed is in Bloom on the North Fork

Noxious weed postcardAll over the North Fork, along driveways and in yards, Yellow Hawkweed has started to bloom. To the unaware, it looks like a beautiful flower, but it is actually a very noxious weed… of the worst weed problems in the North Fork. It spreads insidiously through its prolific seeds which can be carried afar on the wind, vehicles, boots, and animals. If untreated, a few flowers will become a thick field of yellow in just a few years choking out native wildflowers…….and it will spread to other people’s property.

The NFLA Weed Committee mailed postcards to all North Fork landowners featuring the most common noxious weeds. In addition, there are free booklets at the Community Hall with pictures of various noxious weeds and how to manage them. Continue reading Yellow Hawkweed is in Bloom on the North Fork

Weed Resources to Download

Russian Knapweed FlowerIn March of 2015 Flathead National Forest, CHS, and others sponsored workshops focusing on weed identification, plant physiology, non-chemical control options, understanding chemical labels, calibrating equipment, weed law and safety. Richard Hildner and Suzanne Daniel attended and picked up some very helpful materials indeed. Check them out and download from the Weeds Committee page.

Gardening with Native Plants

North Fork “plant nerds” gathered at the Community Hall on Tuesday morning for a workshop on Gardening with Native Plants. Because it was a beautiful day, the workshop was held on the front porch. Terry Divoky from Wildflower, who has been leading this workshop in our community for many years, and Stacey Jacobsen Burgard from the Center for Native Plants, presented information, answered questions, and sold native plants that they had brought with them. After attending this workshop for several years, many North Fork gardeners have transformed their home sites by landscaping with native plants. Next year, we plan to organize this workshop as a field trip to see native plants in North Fork yards.

Gardening with Native Plants Workshop

Don’t forget about the Gardening with Native Plants Workshop at Sondreson Hall led by Terry Divoky; native plants will be available for sale.  She will be joined by Andrew Beltz. This will take place on Tuesday, June 24th starting  at 10AM at Sondreson Hall.

Both Terry and Andrew will be bringing plants to the workshop to sell.   Want to preorder so that you can get just the plants you want?  Open this preorder list, make your selections, then email Andrew at

The North Fork’s newest noxious weed

Blueweed - Photo by Trish Hoffman

Trish Hoffman, USFS Weed Specialist, wanted to provide us with a “heads up” that a noxious weed new to the North Fork has been discovered just north of the border on the Canadian side in the river corridor.  Spring runoff erosion will likely be bringing this new invader, Blueweed, onto North Fork properties that are adjacent to the Wild and Scenic River Corridor, if it hasn’t brought them south previously.

It grows to about 2 to 5 feet tall.  The flowers are in varying shades of blue.  The stamens are pink.  From a distance blueweed has been confused with lupine.

Blueweed contains an alkaloid that is toxic to humans and animals.  It attacks the liver.   Blueweed is pullable, but gloves and a long-sleeved shirt must be used because the stiff hairs on the plant make handling it similar to handling fiberglass.  Small infestations can be pulled or dug up and bagged.  If a larger infestation is found, call the Flathead County Weed Department for advice on using herbicide.  If blueweed is found growing with a hay crop, it will ruin the hay when baled and stored due to the plant’s high moisture content.  (I know this probably applies to only a couple of North Fork landowners.)

Early identification of this new invader and eradication of it while the infestations are small are critical to effective and relatively inexpensive control.  Besides, it’s just part of being a good steward of the land and a good neighbor.  For more information, contact Trish Hoffman at 406-758-3510.

Applications for 2015 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is taking applications for 2015 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

The program provides funding to forest landowners to help them manage their forest.   Practices offered under EQIP are: Pre-Commercial Thinning, Slash Treatment (pile& burn or chipping), Fuel Break around buildings, Tree Planting, and Noxious Weed Control.   The signup is continuous but the deadline to qualify for funding for spring 2015  is June 1, 2014.  Please contact the local NRCS office in Kalispell  at 752-4242 X 3 for more information or to obtain an application.

Flathead Forest Friday Focus: Weeds

Everyone Invited for a Breakfast Chat on Friday, September, 20th

KALISPELL, MONT. – Nearly 30 species of invasive plants, or weeds, can be found on the Flathead National Forest. Each year forest employees strategize when and where to put its resources in the fight against these invaders. The tools used to kill the weeds are constantly changing as botanists consider everything from plant sniffing dogs to plant eating insects. Come chat with us about our efforts. Continue reading Flathead Forest Friday Focus: Weeds

Knapweed pull

On August 15, the North Fork Weed Wranglers will be pulling weeds on some of our neighbors property. We will be focusing on helping those neighbors who are disabled or physically unable to do this work themselves. If you would like some help, please contact Debo Powers at

We also welcome anyone who would like to help pull weeds. This is a good way to learn about weed identification and help your neighbors at the same time. Meet at Polebridge at 9:30AM on August 15 and please bring some glove