Invasive Weeds

Invasive plants are weeds that have been introduced to British Columbia without the insect predators and plant pathogens that help keep them in check in their native habitats. Without natural enemies, these invaders can rapidly choke out native plants and agricultural crops.

Invasive Weed Control Program

Our Invasive Weed Control Program targets Wild Chervil, Tansy Ragwort, Giant Hogweed and Knotweed on public road right-of-ways in Electoral Areas C, D, E, G, and H, as well as in Chilliwack and Abbotsford. The FVRD often partners with other land managers to ensure that weed control measures are effective.

These weeds are prioritized according to their potential to cause significant negative impacts to health and safety, public and private infrastructure and agriculture. Below are descriptions of the four priority weeds in the region and what you can do to control them. 

Giant Hogweed

This massive plant grows from 3 – 5m tall and produces white flowers arranged in clusters up to 1m wide. Its hollow, rigid stalk is 6 - 10cm in diameter with dark reddish-purple spots and bristles. The leaves resemble very large, jagged maple leafs and can grow up to 1.5m wide.

Contact with Giant Hogweed can cause severe burns. Refer to the Worksafe BC Guide for safety information prior to handling the plant or contact a weed control professional to control the plants for you.

Look-alike weeds:

  • Cow Parsnip: Grows to 1-3m tall. Its stem does not have purple spots, and its leaves are smaller and less jagged than those of Hogweed.

Knotweed

Knotweed stems have reddish-brown specks and resemble bamboo. Its leaves are heart-shaped, and may be elongated. Its flowers are pinkish-white or greenish-white, and form feathery clusters at the base of each leaf.

Knotweeds have the ability to grow through concrete and asphalt, which could lead to infrastructure damage. They can also spread through seeds, stem, and root fragments so mowing, digging, and weed whacking can cause it to spread.

Look-alike weeds:

  • Bamboo: Has very narrow and elongated leaves.

Tansy Ragwort

Mature Tansy Ragwort plants grow from 0.3m to 2m tall, and can be identified by their bright yellow daisy-like flowers and ragged leaves. Many stems can grow from one central root, with a cluster of flowers growing on top of each stem.

Tansy Ragwort contains toxic chemicals that result in liver damage that can lead to death in livestock. The toxin can be passed on to humans through milk and honey produced by affected animals and insects. Symptoms of poisoning include digestive distress, liver damage, and restlessness, lack of coordination, paling of the mucous membranes, or walking in circles.

Look-alike weeds:

  • Common Tansy: Has a button-like yellow flower with no distinct petals.

  • St. John's Wort: Has a yellow flower with only five petals, and a distinctive centre with multiple antennae.

Wild Chervil

Wild Chervil can grow up to 2m tall and can be identified by its white flower and fern-like leaf. Its flowers have five petals and are clustered together at the end of a single stem.

Wild Chervil is a host for the yellow fleck virus, which damages crops that are members of the parsley family. They also cause mold to grow in harvested forage and can quickly take over pastures if not controlled.

Look-alike weeds:

  • Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria): Its leaves have white borders around the edges, and are not fern-like in appearance.

  • Poison Hemlock (Conium Maculatum): Has purple spots on the stems and is most easily distinguished by its size since it can grow from to 2 to 3m high.

Invasive Weeds on Your Property

All FVRD residents are responsible for controlling invasive weeds on their private property. If you have questions about identification, would like further instructions on effective control, contact a weed control professional

Disposal

The FVRD offers an invasive weeds pickup service for residents in our service area (Electoral Areas C, D, E, G, H, Chilliwack and Abbotsford) from April to August every year.

To request a pickup of weeds you have bagged from your property, call the Morrow BioScience hotline at 1-877-986-3363 or email weeds@morrowbioscience.com. All weeds must be bagged, labelled "Invasive Weeds", and left at the front of your property.

If you have a municipal compostable organics collection service, you could also place Wild Chervil and Tansy Ragwort in your curbside for collection.

Please note that we do not recommend using the curbside pickup services for knotweed or Hogweed disposal as they are best dealt with on site in order to prevent spread.