June 18th, 2021

Parks and Recreation: Wild Weed West

By Keziah Lesko-Gosselin on June 8, 2021.

With gardening season arrives weeding season, demanding extra time in the garden pulling greenery. If weeds were humans, we might admire them for thriving in undesirable circumstances, successfully adapting to new scenarios, and for generally being very attractive. However as they are plants, these qualities can be problematic for the native plants competing for space and resources.

Most weeds are just nuisances, but removal and control of some species is required by law. Everyone is responsible to control noxious and prohibited noxious weeds on their property, including boulevards, and to the mid-point of alleyways. Noxious weeds are harmful for economic, social, and/or ecological reasons, and their spread must be controlled. Prohibited noxious weeds are dangerous for the same reasons; however, they are not commonly found in Alberta, so the entire plant must be removed.

Weeds can be destroyed manually, or by responsible herbicide use. When disposing weeds, do not use the green bins as plant seeds will eventually return to the soil. For information on local weeds and how to control them, find one of the many online resources, or contact City of Medicine Hat.

A key step in weed control identifying which plants actually need removal. Police Point Park’s Nature Centre and the Society of Grasslands Naturalists will host several weed workshops in June and July to increase public awareness and education of regulated and nuisance weeds in Medicine Hat. Workshops will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays in various neighbourhoods around the city, and might just teach you about a dangerous plant in your yard! For more information on the workshops, please contact the Nature Centre at 403-529-6225, or mhip@natureline.info. Registration is limited, so get in touch soon!

Leafy spurge is one of the noxious weeds found in Medicine Hat. This plant is poisonous to many animals, and spreads aggressively above and below ground. Last year, Parks and Recreation used goat herbivory to control the weed in Police Point Park, which was met with very positive public feedback. This technique is economical, environmentally friendly, and provides opportunities for education. Creekside Goats will return for one week in both June and July to further devour the weed. Stay tuned for more information on interpretive programming to be offered at Police Point Nature Centre. Everyone is invited to visit our furry friends at work, but please keep all animals on leash, and remember to watch from afar – these goats have work to do!

Keziah Lesko-Gosselin is a parks Ttechnician with the parks and recreation department, City of Medicine Hat

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