Some native seed mixes planted to foster habitats for honeybees and other pollinators have been found to be contaminated with Palmer amaranth – a weed ranked by the Weed Science Society of America as the most troublesome in the U.S. While there have been no reports of this in the state of Washington, it is something people should be watching for.
Palmer amaranth has become commonplace in agricultural fields across the South and the Southeast and has been traveling north for several decades. It is found on both U.S. coasts, in the Midwest, as far north as Canada and as far south as the Mississippi Delta. Its small seeds are easily spread by birds and farm equipment, and in bird seed, livestock feed and manure.
Recent infestations, though, show the weed is also being spread in some native seed mixes – even those labeled as zero percent weed seed. That’s the case in Iowa, Minnesota, and other Midwest states where there has been a concerted effort by farmers and other landowners to plant native wildflowers that can serve as a pollinator habitat.
Read more about this issue in this recently posted news release from the Weed Science Society of America, titled ‘Make Sure Your Seed Mix is Tested for the Nation’s Most Troublesome Weed’.