Creeping bellflower was spotted this week at the base of the sign outside city hall that declares Red Deer a nuclear weapon free zone. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Keep your eye open for creeping bellflower

Noxious weed spreads in Red Deer

Creeping bellflower is taking root in the city, but Red Deer is fighting back against the noxious weed.

More of the pretty, purple perennial has been spotted around the city this summer, including at the base of the sign outside city hall declaring Red Deer a nuclear weapon free zone.

Ken Lehman, ecological services operations co-ordinator with the city’s parks department, said this year inspectors have seen a lot of the weed.

“Creeping bellflower is kind of a recent issue. We haven’t been battling it for too many years,” Lehman said on Thursday.

“There are other noxious weeds like it, but it’s probably one of those higher on the list that has been increasing at a higher rate over the last few years.”

He said many Alberta communities face the same battle. Both the city and homeowners have to work to control weed that is void of any natural predators, checks or controls.

According to Alberta Invasive Species Council, this perennial, introduced from Europe as an ornamental, reproduces both by seed and underground stems. Its creeping root system makes it difficult to eradicate.

The weed survives in full sun, part-shade or shade and grows to one metre tall or more.

Native harebells can be confused with the creeping bellflower as their flowers are similar. But harebells have shorter stems, smaller flowers and smaller, different shaped leaves.

Weed inspectors will leave a notice at homes where the weed is found in yards. Homeowners are required to control the weed within a couple of weeks or it will be controlled by the city at the homeowner’s expense.

“It’s a noxious weed so we don’t have to completely eradicate it. That would be a good goal, but by law we’re required to control it which means take the flower source, take the seed head off. Be diligent in removing those.”

But it really requires regularly pulling or digging out the roots to help reduce its spread. There’s no quick, chemical fix. Chemicals that do work will kill nearby vegetation.

“Save the rest of your plants. There’s no registered product, chemical, to control it. We’ve been using mostly manual means of trying to control it. Better to not dump chemical on the earth if we can throw some elbow grease into it.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

230 new COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend

City of Red Deer has nine active cases

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

As postponed NHL season resumes, some fans say the lure of parties will be strong

EDMONTON — As hockey fans gear up for a truncated season to… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

David Marsden: The remaking of Westerner Park

Red Deer residents have been tested by the COVID-19 pandemic in innumerable… Continue reading

Statistics Canada analysis suggests small hit to inflation from pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says Canadians’ buying patterns changed so much during… Continue reading

Return of North American economy will negate need for tariffs, PM tells Trump

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Donald Trump to think twice… Continue reading

Pieridae Energy says engineering company seeking exit from Goldboro LNG deal

CALGARY — The engineering company hired to build the proposed Goldboro LNG… Continue reading

Calgary Flames flicker back to life with lopsided groups at camp

CALGARY — After a few passing and battle drills to shake out… Continue reading

Oilers honour memory of Colby Cave prior to first practice returning to play

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers returned to the ice Monday, but not… Continue reading

Experts believe Edmonton will change its CFL team name

As pressure mounts for professional sports teams to shed racist or stereotypical… Continue reading

‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera found dead at California lake

LOS ANGELES — The body of “Glee” star Naya Rivera was found… Continue reading

Most Read