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Noxious weeds and invasive plants, Communities in Bloom workshop

Noxious weeds are a serious issue as they have the potential, among other things, to degrade habitats and reduce biodiversity. For these reasons, it is important for property owners and gardeners alike to understand the risks of certain plants and how to handle them properly.

On Saturday, April 29 at the Forest Interpretive Centre, the Whitecourt Communities in Bloom Committee held a workshop to help spread the word about common garden pests, noxious weeds, and invasive plants.  Woodlands County Agriculture Services Manager Dawn Fortin and Olds College Instructor Christine Fulkerth spoke to residents and gave tips on how to identify invasive species and different ways to control them. They also shared the list of prohibited noxious weeds in Alberta which shouldn’t be planted and are to be destroyed if located on your property.

“A lot of the weeds are perennial weeds, so they’re going to be coming back year after year. They have different adaptations to survive so that might be vegetative structures under the ground or it might be massive production of seeds like Scentless Chamomile which, for example, will produce one million seeds per year. They also have different ways of dispersing their seeds so they’re very adapted to basically taking over an area,” explained Dawn.

From taking over a pasture and causing issues with the feeding of animals to displacing plants in a garden or flower bed, invasive plants have a far-reaching issue regardless of whether it’s at an urban residence, an acreage, or involving the horticulture industry. Both Christine and Dawn expressed the importance of being educated so that you can best protect your plants.

The Government of Alberta has an extensive website (listed below) devoted to providing a vast amount of information to help residents understand the plants on their properties. Along with the information are full-colour photographs to help with recognizing each weed. Dawn said workshops like these can go a long way in helping to educate. “People can see a field of daisy and figure that that’s beautiful when, in fact, its Ox-eye Daisy, or Scentless Chamomile. They just don’t understand the impact these weeds can have.”

Communities in Bloom will be holding its annual competition again this summer with several categories from residential to front spaces, patios, and decks, commercial, non-profits, and mobile homes. The deadline for entries will be July 5 at the AJMC with judging taking place on July 18 and 19. To get involved with the committee, call Kelly Sadoway at 780-778-3639 ext. 407.

To learn more about noxious weeds, head on over to www.agriculture.alberta.ca and search “invasive plants.”

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