Hoary alyssum and sulphur cinquefoil were the target species in this years Invasive Plant Field Day held at the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo grounds in Barriere on July 30.
The event was divided into a morning and an afternoon session with 45 participants. The presenters focused on the four pillars of invasive plant management: mechanical, biological, cultural and chemical control. Participants went from station to station in small, covid friendly groups – much like speed-dating!
The target species of the presentation, Hoary alyssum and sulphur cinquefoil, are an increasing concern in the area. Hoary alyssum is toxic to horses and has been spreading through contaminated hay. However, both plants are of concern because they can easily take over hayfields, pastures and native range.
Catherine Tarasoff, owner of Agrowest Consulting, talked about mechanical control. Tarasoff highlighted the importance of understanding the biology of your enemy. Hoary alyssum has a tap root, therefore it can be managed by pulling. On the other hand, sulphur cinquefoil has a woody root system making hand removal very difficult.
Ryan Comeau and Dawson Edwards from Purity Feeds gave informative talks on chemical and cultural control. Chemical control can be a great option if you have large amounts of invasive plants, it is important to do your research before hand and talk to experts to make sure you are choosing the correct treatment for your situation. Cultural control is focused on keeping your land healthy and resistant to invasion. Actions such as rotational grazing, timely seeding, and knowing what is in your hay can go a long way towards keeping your land healthy and free of invasive plants.
Jayne D’Entremont, who is a Barriere resident, made a presentation on Biological control. Accompanying her in the presentation, were some of her goats that have been trained to eat invasive plants. Not only is this an effective way of controlling invasive plants, but as D’Entremont said, “It is the also the most fun method”.
The take home message from all the presenters was that the best results are found when we use a combination of all our tools in the toolbox. When we understand our invasive plants and how they impact the environment, then we can choose the correct methods to win the fight against invasive plants.
‘Invasive plants are here for the long haul’, said Agnus Jackson of the Thompson Nicola Invasive Plant Management Committee, “We must not become complacent, or put off pulling that weed at the gate.”
You can contact the Thompson Nicola Invasive Plant Management Committee (TNIPMC) for more information or questions about invasive plant management, or follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TNIPMC/ to be notified of upcoming events.