Last week, my wife and I took a brief neighbourhood invasive weed cruise around parts of Kimberley.
Most streets in Townsite looked well cared for. However, the Trail and Elko Street snowdumps are still nirvanas for noxious Blueweed and friends.
It appears that city hall has not yet learned to get the weed contractors on the job in the springtime — when the invasive weeds are small and not yet in flower. In May and June, the contractors can eliminate a lot more noxious garden invaders faster, without putting any pollinators at risk.
As I mentioned in a 2018 article, because of the large size of Blueweed when in flower, August is a really inefficient month to weed-whack, when you have to chase away the bees then cut up the tall Blueweed stems and garbage bag them for the dump. Applying herbicide in flowering season also risks the health of bees.
So, who were the Blueweed friends gathering at the Trail Street snowdump? Well, the concrete-punching Japanese Knotweed bush is still there, despite whatever has been done to try and eliminate it. This year, the knotweed has a new cuddle-buddy, Dame’s Rocket (aka Mother of the Evening and about nine other aliases). We managed to have Dame’s Rocket (that the City of Calgary says can choke out other vegetation and harbour dangerous plant diseases) pretty much eliminated in Cranbrook, in 2017.
But, “bad actors” can still hide out in the region. Four petal Dame’s Rocket is often mistaken for native Garden Phlox, which has five petals per flower.
We need to be careful about what we buy from the garden centres, or order online.
Now for the Elko Street snowdump, it has a lot of prosperous Bluebur — beside its Blueweed. Bluebur has many BB-sized burs that you will have to rub cornstarch on to get the tiny graspers to let go of your pet’s fur.
If you and your neighbours want to do your local weed work instead of relying on the city to clean up the snowdump, Blueweed, Bluebur and Dame’s Rocket are all tap-rooted weeds, so instead of spraying herbicide, you can use a screwdriver to loosen the soil around the root and pull them out of the ground, then garbage-bag the whole plant for the dump.
When handling weeds, be sure to protect your hands with heavy leather or rubber gloves, to prevent rashes and skin punctures.
Before tackling the Knotweed, do some “Google” research first. As a repeat warning to the Forest Crowne subdivision, Blueweed, and Dalmatian Toadflax do not go away on their own.
Weed Warrior Frank