Seems the publisher, my boss, has received correspondence from at least one local resident regarding the concern that the city is allowing weeds to grow upon the sidewalks and parking lots in Baker.
By Sherry Vogel
As is common at the Times office, this type of concern often finds its way to the reporter with the request to investigate the subject and produce an article to better inform the reader concerning the subject matter.
Now mind you, the newsroom was a busy place the day this particular request came across my desk. Incidentally, I’d attended a couple of public forums over the previous days involving a drug epidemic we are experiencing in southeastern Montana.
In a moment of bewilderment the two completely different subjects intertwined. Weed? Say what? Hmm… the plot thickens.
After the perplexity of the thought was remedied, I realized that what I entertained, for a brief few seconds, as perhaps an intriguing article seemed quite lackluster. But then reminding myself that any subject can actually be thought provoking, I switched gears.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote, “A weed is an unloved flower.” So it seems that there are unloved flowers sprouting up on the sidewalks and parking lots around town.
With 250,000 existing plant species, 8,000 are considered weeds. Weeds perhaps can be defined as any plant that isn’t valued where it is growing, in other words a plant in the wrong place. For example a dandelion is a common plant growing in many places around the world, especially in Europe, Asia and Americas. It is a well-known example of a plant that is considered a weed in some contexts (such as lawns) but not a weed in others (such as when it is used as a leaf vegetable or herbal medicine.) It is believed that dandelions probably came to the United States with the pilgrims on the Mayflower. Dandelions have a huge amount of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It also makes a flavorsome wine.
Among the two types of weeds that grow are Broad Leaf weeds and Grassy weeds. They vary in roots systems, heights, growth rates and adaptability to their environments. There is one type of weed, called hydrills, which can grow 100 inches a day.
After assessing the positive attributes of some weeds and learning about their growth factors, let’s get down to the hard facts about unwanted weeds on the sidewalks and in the cracks of the parking lots around town.
Whose responsibility is it to annihilate these unwanted unloved plants?
The answer is best discovered in the Baker City Ordinance 6.16.010 – Uncontrolled plant growth and uncontrolled weeds unlawful: It is unlawful and it is declared a nuisance for any owner of real property within the city to maintain, permit or suffer to exist in or upon any real property within the city any uncontrolled plant growth of any nature which obstructs the view of motorists, creates a fire hazard or provides cover for wild animals or reptiles, or any uncontrolled weed growth.
Further 6.16.020 – Duty of the owner. It is the duty of the owner of real property to cut, destroy or remove or cause to be cut, destroyed or removed all weeds in excess of twelve inches in height in growing thereon and upon any one-half of any street or alley abutting this property to a height of four inches or less.
In part; 6.16.030 – Inspection – Notice to owner. (b) (1) That all owners of real property or agents having control thereof are responsible for destroying, removing or cutting all weeds not later than April 30th of each year and to keep such property free of weeds through November 30th of each year.
To find more information in regards to weed control go to: bakermontana.us.gov, click on City of Baker Municipal Code.