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HomeNewsWeed Warrior Program destroys roughly 9,500 pounds of scentless chamomile

Weed Warrior Program destroys roughly 9,500 pounds of scentless chamomile

Hillcrest Christian School and the Grande Prairie Garden Club teamed up over the past four weeks to pull weeds from the County of Grande Prairie. Between the two organizations, roughly 9,500 pounds were pulled.

Rural Extension Officer with the County of Grande Prairie Jill Henry says the main focus of the groups’ efforts was on scentless chamomile, which is an invasive species in the region, though the teams pulled other species as well while they were at it. Toadflax and thistle were among plants on the list of targets.

“[Scentless chamomile is] a plant that usually blooms in the spring, into June and early July. It will typically remain dormant for many years in the soil, and each plant can contain thousands of seeds,” says Henry. “When it gets to be mature, the best way to remove it is to pick it, bag it and burn it, or have it destroyed at the landfill.”

Scentless chamomile seeds can remain dormant in the soil for up to approximately 20 years and can potentially have a significant impact on crop growth. The county typically hires weed inspectors and crews to handle larger infestations.

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Both the garden club and the school participated in the culling through the County’s Weed Warrior Program. It’s considered a win-win initiative that incentivizes a community organization to come together to pull weeds.

Through the Weed Warrior program, the County donated $500 to each group that participated and gave an additional $100 to the team that had the largest haul. Henry says some teams will be active for up to four or five hours on a given day.

“It’s a good way to raise money for their club and we definitely add some team spirit to the competition as well. The group that picks the most weight will be the ‘Weed Warrior Champion,’ for the year,” says Henry. “We do have other weed control programs but this is definitely a way to raise awareness of the noxious weeds in our county and a way for groups to get up close and personal with the weeds.”

The County of Grande Praire is encouraging more groups and non-profits to get involved where they can to help tackle the infestation and pick up some extra funding for their organizations.

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