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40 Mile working on solution for kochia overgrowth

Posted on September 14, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

By Anna Smith

Atthe Aug. 23 council meeting, something was certainly growing in the forefront of everyone’s mind.

“We had a fairly lengthy discussion on weeds, because there’s been some complaints that have come in on the kochia weeds and our roads this year,” said Deputy Reeve Stacey Barrows.

The plant has gotten far out of hand in all areas, said Barrows, be it from ditches and roadways to on farms, to nestling among farm crops. The plant thrives in the hot and dry environment, and with this year’s drought conditions, the problem quickly grew out of control.

“I know there’s a few other municipalities that have been dealing with it like us. And we’ve just had discussions on how to stay on top of it in the most affordable way,” said Barrows. “Chemicals can get quite costly in spraying all of our roads. I just wanted to say something, so that people know we are because we’re getting complaints about their roads that we are really working hard to address that issue.”

Part of the issue with kochia is that it can become resistant to specific chemical treatments, meaning that in order to kill it, it can become necessary to seek out novel treatments in order to actually do away with the plant.

“If it becomes resistant to, say, Roundup, one of the best ones, then you have to find something different. You might have to even mix Roundup with something else to help, almost trick it in a way,” said Barrows. “On top of that, we’re spraying roads, so we’re limited to some of the chemicals we can use, right? Because it’s for public use.”

The restrictions are even tighter in areas like 40 Mile Park, or in the hamlets as communities, but that doesn’t mean that the County is done fighting.

A solution has yet to be reached, but the councillors are putting their heads together with their public works and agricultural departments to hopefully settle on an approach soon.

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