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What’s that weed clogging up Washington lakes?

SPONSORED — If you’ve ever gone for a swim or out on a boat on one of Washington’s lake, you’re probably familiar with milfoil.

Nasty, gunky, and dangerous, Eurasian Milfoil is an invasive and aggressive plant with deep roots that clogs up waterfront property. Milfoil is dangerous for swimmers, can ruin boat motors, interferes with the docking of seaplanes, and can block the water intake of private lakes and ponds.

Milfoil has far-reaching consequences on the economy because of its effects on fishing and tourism, not to mention its ecological effects on native plants and fish, as it blocks the sun and takes up space.

So, what can you do about milfoil in your area?

Educate yourself

Milfoil may have migrated to the U.S. as early as the 1880s, and it’s been spreading ever since, according to the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. It was first formally recorded in Lake Washington in 1974. It may have even traveled over land: Earthworm farmers in Oklahoma used it as packing material when they shipped their boxes, according to a report by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.

Milfoil is prolific, and it’s hearty. This is precisely why it can make boating and even swimming dangerous.

Look for milfoil along your lakefront property. The best time to start looking for milfoil on the shores is late spring when plants are visible, and into early fall when the plants die back, according to the King County Noxious Weed Control Program.

Clean your boat

Milfoil wants to hitchhike anywhere it can, including on the underside of your boat. It can live for weeks out of the water, so you need to clean all plant material off boats, motors and trailers when you leave a potentially infested body of water. Check bilge water for plant fragments, too.

Also, take note if you have an aquarium, as sometimes milfoil strains are sold as aquarium plants, so don’t dump unwanted aquarium water in a natural body of water.

Get milfoil removed

If you own lakefront property, milfoil can lower your property value and virtually eliminate water activity. That’s why it pays to hire professionals to do the job properly.

Joe Markman, aka “The Milfoil King,” is a Seattle-based expert in milfoil removal and waterfront landscaping. His business takes care of waterfront milfoil removal around Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, Mercer Island, Seattle, Kirkland and American Lake.

The Milfoil King and his team of trained divers combat local milfoil through two distinct methods.

First, the shore defense bottom barrier is a natural, biodegradable system which prevents underwater weeds from emerging out of the muck to ruin the beach. The shore defense bottom barrier is recommended for those looking for a long-term solution, offering protection for up to 10 years.

Second, removal of milfoil and lily pads is for those who want to clear out their waterfront and restore property to its natural beauty. The Milfoil King and his team of divers will remove underwater weeds within a span of a few hours.

With summer and warm weather approaching, get that milfoil cleared out and preserve your boat and beaches with the help of the professionals. Visit for more information, and call the Milfoil King at 425-610-9149.

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