Saturday, 01 October 2016 10:55

Don't let this pretty plant fool you… it's an invasive species

Written by Michael Short
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This pretty, but invasive species is no friend to Alberta’s fresh water resources. Flowering Rush is native to Africa, Asia, and Europe and was introduced to Alberta as an ornamental plant, in fact, there are some who believe it was specifically planted along the bank of a lake, the rest, as they say, is history.

Control of this noxious weed is not easy, but not impossible. Lake Isle is a test site for biologists and other experts to start to understand better how the plant spreads and more important develop best practices for getting rid of it.

Nicole Kimmel, a Provincial Weed Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, says the first step is establishing some baseline data on where the plants are located.

GPS and satellite mapping assist in locating Flowering Rush locations

As a kind of ground zero for Flowering Rush, Lake Isle is seeing subject matter experts from a variety of scientific backgrounds, as well as residents who live in the area, to meet face to face.

Flowering Rush removal by hand at Lake Isle

This plant if left unchecked can choke out a lake or river as it can grow in deep flowing water. Removal of Flowering Rush has included using tactics like hand digging, to using a weighted fabric, which will block sunlight so the plant can’t grow. Mechanical Pullers have also been tried as well as some potential herbicides. Another day mapping and tracking the plants on Lake Isle will be scheduled for next summer to determine how successful the various methods of removing the plants have been.

It’s been a tough year for those who are involved in the prevention and spreading of invasive species. I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with Alberta’s Invasive Species Specialist Kate Wilson.

Podcast with Kate Wilson

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