Boundary Weed Program and RDKB concerned about invasive plants

The Boundary Weed Program warns residents to keep an eye out for invasive plants this spring.

The Boundary Weed Program and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) are concerned about the growth of invasive plants in the Boundary region.

The invasion of non-native plant species are damaging to the native wildlife, such as insects, birds, mammals and reptiles in the area.

Barb Stewart, co-ordinator for the Boundary Weed Program, stated the plants they are looking at tend to be more biennials or perennials.

Biennials usually require two seasons to complete their life cycle, where as perennials can last for many seasons.

“Those plants tend to be problems year after year and there are a lot of weeds out there,” she said. “We don’t deal with dandelions, since they’re more of a garden weed. We deal with the ones that have an impact on the landscape.”

The biggest problem at the moment is the Hoary alyssum.

“It’s just about to start flowering so it’s just going to be visible,” said Stewart. “There are others out there but they’re not going to be visible for at least another few weeks.”

Hoary alyssum grows up to 70 centimeters and has white flowers on top of the thin stalks. The plant is covered in star-shaped hairs.

Stewart stated that the term “weeds” refers to anything that is introduced and growing where gardeners don’t want it to grow, where as invasive plants move into a landscape and tend to dominate the landscape.

“We deal with the invasive plants that won’t go away on their own,” she said. “As far as the impacts, it varies by the plant species.”

Invasive plants compete with native plants and can affect foraging wildlife, water runoff and sedimentation.

“Most of them have come from Europe or Asia; some have come with the personal belongings of settlers, others come from the bows of ships and some were intentionally brought in as ornamentals,” explained Stewart.

She believes that around 60 per cent are intentionally brought in.

“Our weed committee does offer identification services, so you know what you’re dealing with and that’s free of charge for landowners,” she added. “We come out to see what they got and give them suggestions on how to manage it.”

The RDKB accepts disposals of invasive plant species free of charge, at all landfills and transfer stations.

To ensure that the seed does not spread during transport, the bags must be double bagged.

“The big message to people is to prevent spread into our background areas,” Stewart stated. “That’s a huge message because they come off of pickup trucks, cattle guards, trailers and ATVs.”

Stewart noted that there are simple steps that will help in the long term, including keeping the area where your truck and trailer is parked mowed down, and washing the underside of vehicles.

She also noted that gardeners should ask questions before they plant something new.

For more information, contact Stewart at 250-446-2232 or visit weedsbc.ca or rdkb.com.