It may be beautiful and found in fields all over our region, but hawkweed is not just another pretty flower.
Throughout British Columbia, a total of eight native hawkweed and 13 invasive species have been recorded.
Of the 13 invasive hawkweeds, one variety has bright orange flowers, while the others have yellow flowers. Generally speaking, the native yellow species can be distinguished from the invasive varieties by checking to see if leaves are present on the stems, as most of the invasive species have leafless stems.
Hawkweed is an aggressive propagator, with an ability to form dense mats that can rapidly choke out native and desirable plant communities.
Unfortunately, the hawkweed infestation is severe within the Cariboo Chilcotin, and as a result, containment areas have been created. Containment is an invasive plant management strategy to prevent large infestations from spreading into non-infested areas.
To create a containment area, invasive plant specialists draw an area on a map that surrounds the worst of the infestation. Inside the line, the infestation is extensive and eradication is not possible. Therefore, limited to no treatments will be conducted within the line.
Outside the line, the infestation is limited and eradication is possible through active treatments.
Here are a few key tips to managing orange and yellow hawkweed on your property:
• Treat small infestations of hawkweed before they become large.
• Avoid mowing or cutting hawkweed. It makes the plant become more aggressive and it will spread further through roots.
• Hand pull and dig out small infestations, ensuring the entire root is recovered and dispose of plant material in designated bins at your local solid waste management site. Do not compost.
• Fertilize small infestations with an ammonium sulfate product.
• Promote healthy landscapes – stressed landscapes encourage weeds.
• Apply herbicides, where appropriate, to larger infestations.
The Cariboo Regional District is dedicated to protecting the region from negative impacts of invasive plants through its Invasive Plant Management Program (IPMP). The IPMP is also available to assist landowners within the region through its Landowner Assistance Program.
To learn more about invasive plants in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, visit the CRD online at www.cariboord.bc.ca, or call the IPMP staff toll-free at 1-800-665-1636.