Chem­i­cal war on weeds

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY AN­GELA BROWN News Staff

What hu­man force can’t fix, sci­ence may do bet­ter.

That seems to be North Glen­garry’s rea­son­ing for this year’s weed-con­trol pro­gram, which has a $30,000 bud­get for spray­ing her­bi­cides to help re­duce a grow­ing prob­lem.

Stor­mont-Dun­das-Glen­garry United Coun­ties Weed In­spec­tor Peter Leye­naar re­lated in his pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil Fe­bru­ary 8, some of the chem­i­cals used to con­trol nox­ious weeds are ClearView and Es­cort. An­other two new chem­i­cals are also be­ing con­sid­ered.

“It ap­pears we are the only town­ship in SDG that hasn’t been do­ing road-side spray­ing,” said CAO Daniel Gagnon. “We have $30,000 in the bud­get for 2016 to be­gin a more ag­gres­sive road-side spray­ing process, be­cause, as we heard, the me­chan­i­cal isn’t do­ing enough and we’ve been hav­ing com­plaints from res­i­dents over the nox­ious weeds.”

While Coun. Carma Wil­liams raised con­cerns about us­ing chem­i­cals to kill weeds, Mr. Leye­naar said the prod­ucts have been ap­proved by Health Canada and are non-car­cino­genic.

Ms. Wil­liams would like to see more stud­ies on the her­bi­cides. “Frankly, I think that should be your pri­or­ity ver­sus mov­ing to a chem­i­cal we haven’t been us­ing in the past.”

Mr. Leye­naar com­mented, “The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple want more to be done.”

When any spray­ing is com­pleted, he rec­om­mends peo­ple and their pets avoid the area for 24 hours.

Mr. Leye­naar added it’s of­ten most pro­duc­tive to use a com­bi­na­tion of both me­chan­i­cal re­moval and chem­i­cal treat­ment.

Pub­lic Works di­rec­tor Ryan Mor­ton pointed out the town­ship’s mow­ers can’t al­ways reach weeds in ditches. Be­cause the me­chan­i­cal process is time-con­sum­ing, by the time work­ers have com­pleted the job, the weeds are al­ready start­ing to re­turn and “we’re back to square one.”

There is an in­creased preva­lence of cer­tain weeds in the town­ship.

Mr. Leye­naar is par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about the pres­ence of poi­son parsnip, a weed that can cause rashes and se­vere burns when the sap from the plants come in con­tact with skin.

This weed can also lead to in­creased dis­ease in veg­e­ta­tion and re­duce crop yields.

Mr. Leye­naar also noted the pres­ence of phrag­mites in the re­gion, say­ing while the plants are not nox­ious, they are in­va­sive. In fact, the com­mon reeds are rated as one of the worst in­va­sive plants in Canada.

The wet­land in­vaders can im­pede the move­ment of tur­tles and in­fil­trate farm­ers’ tile drainage. Last year the town­ship bud­geted for $2,000 for its weed re­moval pro­gram.

In some cases, pes­ti­cides were ap­plied to pro­tect em­ploy­ees from com­ing in con­tact with the nox­ious weeds.

Prop­erty own­ers who don’t want to have mu­nic­i­pal land near them sprayed can put up a no-spray sign.

NASTY: Poi­son parsnip is one of the prime rea­sons North Glen­garry is adding chem­i­cals to its weed con­trol arse­nal.

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