Knapweed at the pedestrian bridge which is a target for Wildsight’s upcoming community weed pull event on July 11.

Annual weed-pull needs volunteers

While some weeds are merely plants out of place, invasive weeds are more than just nuisances; they can be dangerous to have around.

While some weeds are merely plants out of place, invasive weeds are more than just nuisances; they can be dangerous to have around! Among other things, invasive weeds can threaten biodiversity, can be toxic to livestock, and they can choke out native plants. But how can you recognize them? And what can you do about them so they don’t take over?

Those are questions that Wildsight-Golden can help you answer. Golden’s Community Weed Program, a partnership project between Wildsight-Golden and the Town of Golden, is now in operation and will be running until mid-August.

Invasive weeds can rapidly take over large areas, altering native ecosystems and pushing out native plants and animals. In fact, invasive species are considered to be the second largest threat to biodiversity worldwide, after habitat loss. Invasive weeds affect everybody and everything. They can degrade scenic beauty, disrupt recreational activities, ruin agricultural areas and poison domestic animals. The good news is that they can be managed at a local level in a relatively easy way if there is a focussed and dedicated effort.

Wildsight-Golden is hand pulling invasive weeds within Town boundaries, so if you see an infestation, they would like to hear about it. Please report the infestation to wildsightweedprogram@gmail.com. Many areas require repeat pulling year after year to remove the tens of thousands of seeds that are released from each plant annually.

Last week, removal targeted a new outbreak of absinth wormwood, Artemisia absinthium L., on the south end of town. A single plant can produce 50,000 seeds! Wormwood gives off a sage-like scent, grows to about 1.2 meters tall, and invades open and disturbed sites such as pastures, rangelands, crop land, stream banks, prairies and old fields.

The Golden Community Weed Program encourages locals to become familiar with the plants on their property so that residents can do their part to start removing invasive weeds from their own backyards. Residents of Golden can arrange for a free invasive plant survey of their yard by emailing wildsightweedprogram@gmail.com or signing up at the Golden Farmer’s Market. Golden’s Invasive Plant Program Coordinator Sadie Parr will drop by at a convenient time and walk residents through their yard, identifying invasive plants and offering advice on the best methods to get rid of them.

With the continued help of the good people of Golden, and the hard work of the weed program coordinators of the past, present, and future, our town’s invasive weed population can be kept under control. However, continued effort is needed.

This summer Golden’s Community Weed Program will be hosting its 7th Annual Community Weed-Pull events and hoping to have hands of all ages involved. Please join us in a community effort to keep knapweed under control along the Kicking Horse River on July 11!

We will be meeting at the Pedestrian Bridge at 9 a.m., with a free lunch to follow provided at Bacchus Books Cafe to all participants, so please RSVP. A second Weed-Pull event will take place August 3rd near Reflection Lake, meeting at the Rodeo Grounds from 3 to 6 p.m.

The Town of Golden provided partnership funding for this years’ program and they continue to offer essential support by picking up and disposing of bags full of invasive weeds that are removed through hand pulling. The program, overseen by the Golden branch of Wildsight, is also receiving support and expertise from the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society: www.columbiashuswapinvasives.org.

For more information on the weed program, or to learn more about invasive plants on or off your property, please contact Sadie Parr at wildsightweedpogram@gmail.com, or come out and see us every other week at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market.