Rural Roadside Vegetation Control Program

Strathcona County maintains rural ditches to improve visibility and ensure safe road travel, allow proper drainage to prevent flooding, and prevent weeds from spreading to protect the environment and surrounding agricultural land.

County workers spraying herbicide in a roadside ditch.

The Rural Roadside Vegetation Control program controls weeds, brush and trees on rural roadsides and in municipal reserves. Control methods include brushing and mulching trees, mowing and spraying.

Image of County staff member putting tree brush in a chipper machine.

Brushing and mulching

Brushing involves removing tree along the roadside, and mulching uses a machine to shred trees and brush into mulch chips that are left to naturally decompose in the ditch over time. 

These activities improve sightlines at intersections and along the roadside, increase efficiency during snow clearing in winter, and improve drainage.

Brushing and mulching are only conducted in County-owned ditches and roadsides in parts of rural Strathcona County. Ornamental trees near approaches and shelterbelts on private property are not removed as part of this program.

Frequently asked questions


Mower working in the ditch.

Mowing

Mowing activities keep roadside vegetation short to improve visibility for the safety of residents travelling on rural roads and to ensure proper drainage.

The frequency of mowing depends on the location of the ditches:

  • Range roads and township roads are mowed twice per year. The first cut occurs during May or June and the second cut occurs during July or August.
  • Rural subdivisions are mowed once per year, typically in August.
  • Rural hamlets are mowed three times per year, in June, July and August.

Frequently asked questions


County worker spraying herbicide in the ditch.

Spraying

Along with brushing and mowing, spraying herbicide is another tool the County uses to manage weeds and brush in the ditch.

The County treats weeds and plants designated as noxious and prohibited noxious under the Alberta Weed Act in order to prevent their spread onto private property. Trees and brush under two meters tall are also sprayed to prevent encroachment onto the road.

Landowner option program 

Rural residents in Strathcona County who do not wish to have herbicide applied to the roadside next to their property can sign up for Strathcona County’s Landowner Option Program (LOP). Once enrolled in the program, landowners assume the responsibility of noxious weed, prohibited noxious weed and brush control. 

To learn more, or to take part in the program, please contact Transportation and Agriculture Services at 780-417-7100.

Frequently asked questions

  • 1. Doesn’t the County need my permission to spray herbicide in my ditch? Permanent link to Doesn’t the County need my permission to spray herbicide in my ditch?

    Rural ditches are County-owned rights-of-way. As a landowner, Strathcona County is responsible for preventing the spread of noxious and prohibited noxious weeds on County-owned land. This is necessary to protect natural areas, agricultural land and private landowners from the spread of invasive plants that can disrupt ecosystems, cause harm to humans and animals, or economically impact farmers.

  • 2. I don’t want the County to spray in my ditch—what can I do? Permanent link to I don’t want the County to spray in my ditch—what can I do?

    Rural residents in Strathcona County who do not wish to have herbicide sprayed in the ditch next to their property can register with the County’s Landowner Option Program (LOP). Once enrolled in the LOP, landowners assume the responsibility of noxious weed, prohibited noxious weed and brush control. To learn more, or to take part in the program, please contact Transportation and Agriculture Services at 780-417-7100.

  • 3. Why does the County spray herbicides—aren’t they dangerous? Permanent link to Why does the County spray herbicides—aren’t they dangerous?

    Spraying herbicide is one tool that the County uses, along with mowing and brushing, to manage the weeds and brush in the ditch. All products used are approved and regulated by Health Canada and applied by certified applicators. For more information on the products used, please contact 780-417-7100.

  • 4. Do you spray all vegetation in the ditch? Permanent link to Do you spray all vegetation in the ditch?

    We spray herbicide to treat weeds designated as noxious and prohibited noxious under the Alberta Weed Act. Trees and brush under two metres tall are also sprayed to prevent them from getting too close to the road.

    Depending on the location, some areas are broadcast sprayed, meaning equipment will spray herbicide to cover the entire ditch. Other areas are spot-sprayed, meaning County staff walk in the ditch and spray only certain plants by hand. All properties registered as "no spray" within the Landowner Option Program are excluded from spraying.

  • 5. How often does the County spray herbicide? Permanent link to How often does the County spray herbicide?

    The County spot-sprays all roadsides south of Highway 16 twice per year. The first spot-spray will occur between late May and June; this spraying is done to control trees and brush. The second spot-spray will occur between July and August; this spraying is done to control noxious and prohibited noxious weeds.

    The County broadcast sprays all the roadsides north of Highway 16 every other year on odd numbered years.

    County land that is not part of annual spraying programs may be either spot sprayed or broadcast sprayed, as required.

  • 6. Why isn’t the County maintaining the ditch along the highway? Permanent link to Why isn’t the County maintaining the ditch along the highway?

    Vegetation control on primary and secondary highways is the responsibility of Alberta Transportation. View a complete listing of primary and secondary highways in Strathcona County. 

    If there are weed concerns in ditches along highways or railroads, Strathcona County will issue weed notices to the proper authorities.

 

Further information:

Last updated: Monday, June 17, 2019
Page ID: 38325