By Pat Jenkins
To spray or not to spray. That’s the question Pierce County officials are asking owners of property in advance of the annual assault on roadside weeds.
The public roadsides in unincoporated areas of the county will get the yearly makeover beginning this week. Herbicides to combat weeds along road shoulders and make the roadways safer for motorists will be sprayed by road crews from now through June. Also scheduled for doses of the spray are noxious weeds, as needed, through the end of November, officials said.
Even though only federal and state-approved herbicides are to be used, some citizens might not want the vegetation-killer to be sprayed near their land. As an alternative, they can sign an “owner will maintain” agreement with Pierce County that commits the owners to keeping the vegetation under control. If a landowner doesn’t keep up, the maintenance reverts to the county.
The do-it-yourselfers must display an “Owner Maintain” sign before the spraying begins. The signs and agreement forms are available at the county’s Central Maintenance Facility in Spanaway at 4812 196th St. E.
With less vegetation to potentially block the sightlines along roadsides, vehicle and pedestrian traffic is safer, said Bruce Wagner, the county road maintenance manager.
He said the annual weed-control focus also reduces fire danger, maximizes the capacity of ditches for holding and draining stormwater, helps control noxious weeds and non-native plants, and promotes native plant growth.
The county has 1,560 miles of roads.
In addition to spraying, crews will mow, cut brush and trim trees along roads during the spring and summer – weather permitting – as part of Pierce County’s effort to manage roadside vegetation.
More information is availabsle at www.piercecountywa.org/ownermaintain and 253-798-6000.