Weed Management

Weed Management

Red Deer County employs a hands-on approach to weed management within the County, through various Weed Inspection and Weed Control programs. By using multiple control methods such as mechanical mowing, hand-pulling, herbicide application, seeding, and weed inspections, as well as actively involving landowners and maintaining weed management records, the County can limit the spread of invasive weeds in an efficient and proactive way.

Under the Weed Control Act and Regulations, noxious and restricted (prohibited noxious) weeds must be controlled or eradicated. All public and private landowners, including the County, have an obligation to prevent the growth, propagation and spread of these weeds. 

Roadside Seeding
Herbicide Application


Prohibited Noxious - These restricted weeds pose a serious threat to agriculture and the environment and as such, must be eradicated. These weeds are capable of very rapid spread, are extremely competitive and can quickly destroy native
vegetation and crops.

Noxious - These weeds are highly invasive and can pose a significant threat to
agriculture and the environment. They can quickly out compete native
vegetation and crops. Many noxious weeds are also toxic to domestic animals
and wildlife. Noxious weeds must be controlled.

Additionally, municipalities may locally elevate a weed of concern to prohibited-noxious or noxious status. 

Additionally, municipalities may locally elevate a weed of concern to prohibited-noxious or noxious status. 

Locally elevated to noxious:   
Absinthe Wormwood Wild Caraway                     
Weed Inspectors

Weed Inspection Programs

Red Deer County actively works to detect and control invasive weeds in the County and to educate residents on control measures. Some of the ways we do this include:

 ProgramProgram Overview
Weed InspectorsEach summer, Red Deer County appoints four Weed Inspectors who conduct weed inspections and investigate complaints, while increasing awareness of invasive weed species and weed management in the County. Each Weed Inspector is responsible for a different section of the County.

Weed inspectors have the ability to enter onto land at a reasonable time to monitor compliance with the Weed Control Act. It is an offense to willfully obstruct or delay them while they are exercising their duties. Weed Inspectors are looking for noxious or prohibited noxious weeds as defined in the Weed Control Regulations.The goal is to create awareness about weed concerns and educate residents on why these weeds are of concern.

Weed ReportsIf and when a Weed Inspector finds noxious or prohibited-noxious weeds on a property, they will inform the landowner through a variety of ways; in person, with a door-hanger, a copy of the weed report, or by phone, and also provide guidance and information to control the issue. Weed Inspectors document the inspection results with a formal Weed Report, which details all inspections on the property as well as attempts to contact the landowner, and any subsequent actions taken.

The intention of a Weed Report is to communicate the issue with the landowner, and initiate a weed control plan with the landowner.

Weed NoticesIf a landowner is not willing to work with the Weed Inspector and fails to comply with their request to control Prohibited Noxious or Noxious Weeds, they will receive a Weed Notice; a legal document notifying the landowner of a weed infestation and setting a firm deadline for control.

If the County has to act to control the weed infestation, the cost of weed control action will be billed to the landowner.

Note: if a Weed Inspector finds a weed classified under the Prohibited Noxious (restricted) category in the Weed Control Regulations, a weed notice has to be issued under the Weed Control Act.

Inter-Municipal Weed InspectionsIn a partnership that began in 2010, Red Deer County contracts weed inspection services to the Towns of Innisfail and Sylvan Lake.

The intent of this program is to address urban weed concerns before they can spread to surrounding agricultural lands.

Seed Cleaning Plant InspectionsUnder Weed Control Act, a seed processing facility that performs custom cleaning is subject to an annual inspection process. Red Deer County Agriculture Services inspects and licenses any permanent, such as the Innisfail Municipal Seed Cleaning Plant, or portable seed cleaning facilities that are based within the County.
Roadside Weed Control

 Weed Control Programs

Weed control is a very important focus for Red Deer County. Through various programs, we provide comprehensive weed control in the County to ensure invasive weeds do not negatively impact agricultural production. These programs include: 

Program Program Overview
Roadside Weed Control
The Roadside Weed Control Program controls undesirable weeds and brush in ditches throughout Red Deer County. The program ensures that vegetation in all county ditches is controlled through herbicide applications, mowing, hand-picking, and competition by ensuring bare areas are seeded to grasses.

The goal of this program is to control vegetation and reduce the spread of weeds, and also to improve sight-lines and reduce snow drifting in the wintertime, especially near intersections.

3,100 kilometers of roadside weed control is completed by Agricultural Services staff each year.

Vegetation AgreementsNo Spray Agreements allow a landowner to opt out of Red Deer County's Roadside Weed Control Program on ditches immediately adjacent to their land.

No spray agreements are generally for landowners within the county that are organic producers, operate greenhouses or raise other sensitive crops.

When a no spray agreement is completed the landowner agrees to control all prohibited and noxious weeds and brush in the agreement areas.

Shoreline Weed Control

The Shoreline Weed Control Program is run collaboratively between Red Deer County, Lacombe County, Stettler County and Alberta Environment.

Agricultural Services personnel travel onto the river systems to control weeds in the sensitive areas along the riverbanks. This labor intensive program has greatly reduced the spread of Scentless Chamomile and Common Tansy as well as many other potentially detrimental weeds.

Fence Line Weed ControlThe Fence Line Weed Control Program focus is brush and weed control along resident fence lines adjacent to County right-of-ways.

Red Deer County can apply a selective herbicide to landowner fence lines to control brush and Prohibited Noxious and/or Noxious weeds. This work can be done at any time in the summer, or when crops are down in the fall; a service agreement is required.

As of August 2018, this program is FREE for County landowners. (previous fee:$100 per half-mile)

Eradicable Weeds ProgramThe Eradicable Weeds Program is a low to no-cost program which focuses on proactively addressing Prohibited-Noxious weeds on private land.

Under this program and with the cooperation of the landowner, Agriculture Services can undertake control measures as soon as possible upon a report of a prohibited-noxious weed infestation.

Herbicide costs are covered by the landowner and the County covers labour and disposal costs. A signed service agreement is required.

If you think you have a prohibited-noxious weed concern and are interested in the Eradicable Weeds Program, please contact Agricultural Services.

Municipal Maintenance

Red Deer County maintains playgrounds, trails, day use sites, boat launches, and municipal reserves for residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the year.

Maintenance activities include; prohibited-noxious and noxious weed control in County owned areas; nuisance weed control (i.e.: dandelions) in ballparks and on trail systems; inspection and maintenance of playgrounds and equipment; maintenance of trail surfaces and for tree care (removal, planting, clean-up of debris etc.) on County owned lands. 

The Bridge Vegetation Control Program is also part of Municipal Maintenance. The focus of the program is ensuring that County bridges, culverts and guardrails are mechanically maintained to control undesirable vegetation such as weeds, grass and even some trees. This program reduces the spread of weeds through our waterways, improves sight-lines, reduces snow drift in the wintertime, and reduces the risk of fire by removing fuel from around wooden structures. Some sites are visited two and even three times throughout the growing season. 

Additionally, Municipal Maintenance oversees the contract mowing of County owned Open Spaces, over 286 acres. The frequency of mowing depends upon the location and usage of the area; mowing could occur once a week, once every two weeks, monthly or twice a year. Some boulevards and ditches are the responsibility of the adjacent landowner; for further information on mowing in the County and who is responsible, click HERE

To learn more about Red Deer County's Recreation and Park areas click HERE
Municipal Maintenance 1
Open Spaces

How We Can Help

Agricultural Services is available to work with residents to prevent and resolve weed management issues. We can assist by identifying plant species and presenting solutions based on resident and County experience, along with research results using various weed control methods.

Contact Agricultural Services if you:
  • are interested in participating in any of our weed management programs
  • have concerns about weeds on a property
  • would like a consultation on weeds on your property
  • would like to drop off a weed sample for identification
  • would like to rent any of the County's available weed control equipment.
Note: Red Deer County is not responsible for weed and vegetation control on primary and secondary highways that run through the County; however, we will happily pass along weed or vegetation concerns to Alberta Transportation