Weed control on private property

There are four common control types for preventing and managing weeds; prevention, physical control, chemical control and biological control.

Please refer to the weed sheets found on the Common Weeds in Strathcona County page for the best control method for the specific weeds that you may have on your property.

Image of hand in garden glove pulling weeds

Prevention

The easiest and cheapest way to control weeds is to prevent them from becoming established on your property. Common prevention methods include:

  • Frequent monitoring of your land
  • Keeping grass healthy and vigorous
  • Weeding seedlings
  • Minimizing soil disturbance (avoid driving on grassy areas) and re-vegetating disturbed soil as soon as possible
  • Quarantine livestock in a smaller, manageable area when moving them from an infested area to a non-infested area
  • Clean off dogs with a brush when leaving off-leash areas

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has more information on how to prevent the spread of weeds.

Physical Control

The most popular way to control weeds is physical or mechanical control. These methods are good to use in sensitive areas such as around water bodies. Common methods include:

  • mowing
  • hand-pulling
  • digging out
  • dead-heading (cutting off flower head only)
  • tilling/cultivation
  • You must be careful with the type of physical control for some weeds as it may actually spread the infestation.

Please refer to the weed sheets found on the Common Weeds in Strathcona County page for the specific control method for the weeds that you may have.

Chemical Control

This type of control is relatively easy to do, usually kills the entire plant, and provides very effective control for most weeds. However, caution must be used around sensitive areas such as water bodies, livestock/pets, and people with allergies or sensitivities.

Make sure to read the label carefully, as the chemical will only be effective on the plants listed, and when applied as per label directions. There are many different herbicides that affect different plant species, different plant stages (seed, seedling, etc), and are applied in different ways.

Most herbicides are not available to the general public, so if you have a large area or cannot find a herbicide through retail stores, you may have to hire a company with a licensed applicator to apply the herbicide for you. Companies can be found in the Yellow Pages.

Biological Control

Biological control is a method that uses other living organisms to keep the specific weed species controlled. Often insects or fungi are used.

To reduce the risk of another invasive species spreading through Canada and risking more of our biodiversity, many years of research must be performed before biological controls are allowed to be released. There are currently a couple types in the Strathcona County area, including:

  • Black dot spurge beetle that attacks leafy spurge
  • Seed weevil that attacks scentless chamomile
  • stem mining weevil that attacks Canada Thistle.

More information can be found on the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry webpage regarding biological controls including how to obtain these controls for your property.

Weed disposal

Some seeds can continue to develop after the plant has been pulled. If you pull weeds, put them in bags right away so the seeds won’t drop and germinate; defeating the purpose of your hard work.

You can throw out all pieces of the plant into the garbage, ensuring that there are no holes in the garbage bag for the seeds to escape out of. 

If convenient, you may also destroy plants by burning them in a fire pit, ensuring all safety standards are met and permits are acquired.

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Last updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Page ID: 44342