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 land.

County workers spraying herbicide in a roadside ditch.

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

Brushing and mulching

Brushing involves removing trees and brush 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 rural Strathcona County. Ornamental trees within the road right- of-way will be removed when the trees are within 2 metres of a county-owned culvert, on the downslope of the road, or within the ditch bottom. Other ornamental or specimen trees within the road right-of-way may be pruned away from the ground and road to allow for improved visibility.

To prevent ornamental tree removals in front of your property, please ensure that any tree planting is safely within private property and account for the fully grown tree height and width prior to planting.

The County will contact landowners with trees on private property that may be impacting intersection sightlines to discuss options.

Common questions


Mowing activities keep roadside vegetation short to improve visibility for the safety of residents travelling on rural roads and to ensure proper drainage. Mowing widths may vary between 1 to 4 meters from the edge of the road and depend on slope, obstructions, and wet areas.

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 once per year, typically in July.

Common questions



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 weeds, prohibited noxious weeds and brush control. 

To learn more, or to take part in the program, please contact the County at 780-417-7100.

Common questions


Further information:

County Connect

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Last updated: Monday, February 26, 2024
Page ID: 38325