BRUCE COUNTY – The county’s transportation and environmental services committee discussed what’s become an ongoing issue – invasive species of weeds.
In this case, discussion focused on Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard.
Staff recommended that the two be designated local weeds through creation of a municipal bylaw. The two plants under consideration are present in Bruce County, although not as prevalent as they are in other parts of the county, and they are damaging.
Japanese knotweed, also known as Mexican bamboo, fleece flower and a number of other names, was introduced as a horticultural plant to North America in the late 19th century. It’s now listed as one of the world’s top 100 invasive species. It’s a hardy plant that can even penetrate concrete.
Garlic mustard is also known as hedge garlic or sauce alone; it’s native to Europe and was brought to North America as a food source and herbal medicine. Although not toxic to cattle, if dairy cows eat it the milk becomes tainted and unusable.
Letters of support for designating the plants local weeds were received from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
The OFA stated that “this bylaw will help the rural communities of Bruce County in multiple ways: provide a mechanism of enforcement to an otherwise unregulated invasive plant and options for treatment previously unavailable; allow municipal weed inspectors the opportunity to help rural property owners control this problematic plant on their property; and bring a greater awareness throughout Bruce County, as it will be latterly enforced by lower tier municipal property standard bylaws.”
County Coun. Robert Buckle, mayor of South Bruce, noted Japanese knotweed isn’t the only problem plant that started as a garden ornamental – he spoke of one on his property, fountain grass, that is a popular ornamental grass but tends to spread and is difficult to remove – he had to chop out the roots with an axe.
Committee members were told that designating a plant as a local weed allows chemicals to be used to eradicate it.
Council approved designating the two plants as local weeds.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times