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Beat the Weeds

By: Rachel Turnquist, Regional Forage Specialist, Moose Jaw

Leafy spurge infestation displacing native rangeland
Spending time outdoors in a Saskatchewan summer can be exciting. Canola and alfalfa are in bloom.  And, along side them, invasive plants are blooming too.  Invasive  pose a threat to native and tame rangelands, to wildlife habitat and to recreational areas.  They spread aggressively taking away valuable nutrients and displacing the vegetation in the their path.  There are many  articles and presentations shared every year to create awareness of their threatening nature.  Prevention is more cost effective than battling acres and acres of infestation. So, don’t wait, beat the weeds.

Invasive plants impact all of us either directly or indirectly. If you live in an urban or rural area, if you are a gardener, livestock manager, restaurant employee, hunter, retiree, teacher, annual crop grower, acreage owner, student, trades person, cabin dweller, snowmobile/ATV rider, roadway grass mower, nurse, parent etc.  They impact everyone. The humbling truth is that we all have the ability to add to the spread, but an empowering truth is that we all have the ability to reduce it!  This means going beyond forfeiting responsibility and casting blame, this is acknowledging there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

5 reasons to care

  1. Being a good neighbour.  Saskatchewan is an agricultural province.  We or our neighbours grow food that feeds the world. When invasive plants are introduced into agriculture they create not only a labour and monetary expense, but also personal stress, livestock stress and potential reduction in food quality and quality.
  2. Invasive plant species are a threat to our natural ecosystems, to native and tame rangelands.  As an example, the invasive plant leafy spurge is so aggressive that it can displace all of the vegetation in a pasture. This reduces the biodiversity in our environment.  
  3. Not every invasive plant can be easily controlled by herbicide.  Many pasture acres with invasive plants on them are growing in sensitive areas such as sandy soils, riparian areas with challenging topography.  Herbicides cannot always be applied in these areas and alternative, innovative and often more labour intensive options are required.
  4. The next generation.  Every parent wants the best for their children.  Let us strive to have less invasive plants for our children to have to combat.
  5. We can all spread invasive plants.  It can be as simple as not knowing what is an invasive plant, growing it in garden, or driving down a road transporting an invasive plant seed in the tire tread.  We don’t spread them on purpose. But we can all spread them. 

What we can do

Common tansy seed spreading on top of the snow on
a snowmobile trail
The first step is learning how to identify and how to control invasive plants. A good starting point is learning the prohibited and noxious species listed in the Weed Control Act.  Contact your local Regional Forage Specialist for more information.

There are programs available.  The Farm Stewardship Program has a Beneficial Management Practice (BMP), Invasive Plant Management Planning that is intended to assist RMs and FNBs to map invasive plant species, and develop management plans to control the spread and/or eliminate the presence of invasive plant species.

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) administers the Invasive Plant Management and Control Program.  This program is intended to assist Rural Municipalities (RMs), First Nations Bands (FNBs), and through RMs, producers and other stakeholders with costs incurred to undertake and coordinate the control of Prohibited Weeds under The Weed Control Act and specific Noxious Weeds identified as persistent and problematic invasive plants.  The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) is administering the IPCP on behalf of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and the Federal Government under Growing Forward 2.

For more information, contact Rachel Turnquist, Moose Jaw Regional Forage Specialist, at 306-694-3721 or








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