Weed management a challenge for municipalities

Invasive Phragmites (Blackburnnews.com File Photo)

North Perth Council got an update on their vegetation management program Monday night.

Director of Operations Lyndon Kowch said managing weed and vegetation growth in local ditches and along roadways is a big task, and one major problem is the invasive phragmites weed.

“It’s most dangerous when it takes away sight lines for traffic, particularly at the corners of roadways,” said Kowch.
“We’re trying to cut it as much as we can. We’re looking at programs with the other partner municipalities that we run our spray program with, to find a contractor that can help us deal with it in the future.”

Kowch said that vegetation and weed management isn’t just about making roadways look nice, but to ensure that drivers and pedestrians are both safe and can see oncoming traffic. He said crews can only do so much if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

“The program has been working fairly well. Again, the spraying conditions when they apply the pesticides are a problem,” said Kowch. “If it’s wet that week, if it’s windy, they’re limited in what they can do. So repeated spraying, spot spraying in areas where weeds do come back may be something we’re looking at in future contracts, as well.”

Kowch said a slight amendment was made last night to the program that deals with invasive weeds and plants along rural roadways and ditches.

“We’re really in a period of review where we finished our first cycle of two years of spraying,” he said. “The previous policy said that spraying would not be included, but we’re under a trial program, so what this allows us to do is accept that as a formal process in our weed and vegetation management program.”