Why should we spray our location?
There are a few reasons to do vegetation control. Around oil and gas locations, growing vegetation is a fire hazard, and the OGC requires that is be removed. There are also some weeds (often called “noxious weeds”) which cause harm to the environment and are legally required to be controlled through the Weed Control Acts of BC and Alberta. Overgrown locations can also hide wildlife and hold water. Removing vegetation can help keep your location safe for work and help prevent the spread of fire and problem/noxious weeds. It can also help reduce site maintenance costs.
Why not just use a grader/weed whacker/etc. to clear (blacken) the location?
Oil and gas locations are varied in their environments, growing conditions and surroundings. There is a place for mechanical vegetation control. It keeps herbicides out of the environment and can be very useful. However, any time that soil is disturbed, new plants germinate. Grading or discing are effective ways of removing vegetation, but don’t last very long. Often whole plants or just their root systems are left intact, allowing them to grow back quickly. The first plants to grow are always the ones you want least. Using a weed whacker is essentially pruning a plant. These methods all have their place, but we have found that the effective use of herbicides is often longer lasting, more cost effective and less disruptive to the environment.
Does the timing of herbicide use matter? What about the weather?
Most herbicides need to be absorbed and processed into the targeted plants, and this can take time. The smaller the weed, and the more the plant is growing, the more susceptible it is to herbicides. Waiting until plants are fully grown means there may be less impact on the weeds- they may not die. Most of the herbicides we used are rain-fast (can’t be washed off) in anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours. If you want your spraying to be most effective, don’t wait until the middle of a hot day in August. Spray in the cool of the morning earlier in the summer, if possible.
It’s been 5 days since you sprayed - why aren’t my weeds dead yet?
As stated above, herbicides work best when plants are actively growing. Many herbicides need to work their way right through the plant before starting to kill it. Otherwise, we’d only kill the growth above the ground, leaving the root system intact. It can take 2-3 weeks for plants to begin to show the effects of herbicides. As with everything else in life, each mix of herbicide, plants, weather conditions, soil, etc. can vary, and so too can the time it takes to see results.
Are the herbicides you’re using dangerous?
It has been said that “the dose makes the poison.” In other words, anything can be a poison (such as table salt or aspirin) if taken in too great an amount. We want to go home to be with our loved ones after work, so we take great care in choosing herbicides with the lowest possible toxicity to people and animals. For those familiar with LD50, our herbicides are typically in the range of 2,000 mg/kg to 10,000 mg/kg. This is similar to products like Alcohol or table salt. We then take these products, dilute them down to roughly 1% with water, and spray them using equipment designed to keep the herbicides away from the operator.
Can you come and spray my lawn or my acreage?
We are licensed to provide industrial and noxious vegetation control both in BC and Alberta. We are not licensed to provide vegetation control on lawns or acreages. There are other service providers in the area we’re sure would be able to help you.
I want to kill a weed on my acreage/in my lawn. What product should I use?
While we do use and are familiar with many herbicides, we are only permitted to use herbicides labelled as industrial. These products usually have different names than those sold for agricultural purposes. The best people to speak with are those who sell the herbicides- they can provide you with the best information. Businesses that supply farmers, such as Viterra in Fort St John, or Foster’s Seed and Feed in Beaverlodge, have knowledgeable staff who can often help.
Can I get some herbicides from you?
We are licensed to use herbicides, but not to sell them. We know that herbicides are becoming harder to purchase, but it’s illegal for us to sell them.
My neighbour has weeds all over his fields. Who can I call?
Other than speaking with your neighbour, we’d suggest you contact the Peace River Regional District, who has an Invasive Plant Program that runs out of the Dawson Creek Office. In Alberta, the county usually has staff who deal with weeds.
Have you seen this weed?
Probably. We may be able to identify it, and we may not. The best places to find information on invasive weeds in BC is the Weeds BC website or the Invasive Species Council of BC website. We’ve also heard that there are those in the Ministry of Agriculture who can help.