Help control invasive plants

While winter has still not released us from its grasp, spring is upon us.

While winter has still not released us from its grasp, spring is upon us.

Soon our native wildflowers will be shaking off winter’s remnants and start reaching for the warm rays of spring’s sun.

However, lurking among our freshly emerging native plants are some pretty impostors.

That’s right — spring is also the time when the region’s invasive plants begin another campaign to conquer an ecosystem near you. To help slow or stop the spread of these invasive plants, the Cariboo Regional District operates an invasive plant management service.

The function follows an integrated pest-management approach involving public awareness through educational enforcement initiatives; spraying and hand pulling; interagency co-ordination region- and province-wide; and other options.

Within the invasive plant management function is the landowner assistance program. The program is free of charge and available to residents of the CRD in an effort to assist them with invasive plant control.

It involves management advice, herbicide dispensing, equipment loans, and private-property treatments.

The herbicide dispensing program is available to residents within the CRD. Qualified private-property owners are eligible to receive a demonstration amount of herbicide to help control the invasive plants on their land.

The equipment loan program provides assistance to landowners by offering spray equipment, including backpack, skid tank, and ATV tank sprayers for short-term loan outs.

The private-property treatment program provides landowners with a hands-on educational experience through private-property treatments. Certified CRD invasive plant management staff will conduct an initial site assessment and treatment of qualified private properties for invasive plants during the operational season.

These programs are available annually from May to August.

Those concerned about using herbicides are advised to contact the invasive plant management team to discuss alternate methods of controlling particular plant species.

Some species, like orange hawkweed, can spread vegetatively with more aggression when cut or pulled. Generally, there are options of hand-pulling, digging, and cutting, and making sure all of the roots are pulled out.

One can also fertilize and over seed, making sure the desired plant community is in good health and therefore more competitive with the invasive plant.

Some plants can be grazed by animals like goats, sheep and cows.

The invasive plant management staff note that it is not recommended people utilize homemade solutions of bleach, vinegar, diesel, etc, since these products are known to kill all microorganisms in the soil and cause more damage than herbicides.

Anyone with herbicide concerns and has an invasive plant is advised to call the invasive plant management program to discuss alternative methods.

The CRD invasive plant management staff are available should people require advice or information regarding plant species and their management.

For more information about the programs or to sign up for invasive plant services, contact the invasive management program at 1-800-665-1636 or visit www.cariboord.bc.ca.