Invasive Plants in Alberta: Transportation of Equipment

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 What is the problem? | Species to watch out for | What you can do
Land owners and occupiers are responsible for controlling noxious weeds and destroying prohibited noxious weeds under the Alberta Weed Control Act. Listed plants in the Act cause problems for the environment, health or economy. Know your responsibilities under the Act. Regardless of where plants are located, prevention is always the most effective approach in dealing with invasive plants.

What is the Problem?
  • Invasive plants can be spread by all manner of vehicles: cars, trucks and quads; by earth-moving machinery such as graders, bulldozers and backhoes; and by farm machinery such as tractors, mowers and harvesters.
  • Invasive plant seeds and fragments can be carried in mud, soil or plant parts that stick to tires, treads, wheel wells, underbodies and inside cabins.
  • Plant seeds that are sticky or spiny can be transported on clothing, boots, animals and vehicle mats.
  • Loads such as grain, hay or gravel containing invasive plant seeds can blow or spill off trucks and rail cars. Some municipalities have certification programs.
  • Transportation corridors such as pathways, roads and railways often provide disturbed sites that allow invasive plants to establish.
  • The Alberta Weed Control Act prohibits the movement of machines or vehicles that, if moved, would likely cause the spread of noxious or prohibited noxious weeds.
Species to Watch for

Invasive plant species can be spread by the transportation of machinery and vehicles. Species that produce abundant viable seed are especially likely to be moved this way:
  • scentless chamomile (Tripleurospermum inodorum)
  • common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
  • yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)
  • leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)
  • perennial sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis)
  • ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
  • knapweeds (Centaurea species)
  • Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • downy brome (Bromus tectorum)

Scentless chamomile (Tripleurospermum inodorum)

What You Can Do
  • Learn what invasive plant species are likely to occur in the areas you are working.
  • Where possible, avoid moving vehicles and machinery through invasive plant infestations.
  • Avoid parking, turning around or staging vehicles and machinery in invasive plant infestations, or mow these areas before use.
  • Keep equipment yards and storage areas free of invasive plants.
  • Tarp/secure loads that might contain invasive plants or their seeds.
  • Vehicles and equipment used off-road in areas where invasive plants occur should be washed down, preferably at the location of last use, but if this procedure is not possible, they should be washed at a central location before they are moved to a new work area.
  • Washing procedures can include brushing, vacuuming and high-pressure water washing.
  • Wash-down guidelines:
  • Pre-clean by removing heavy accumulations of soil or debris, which should be bagged and disposed of in a landfill.
  • Ensure that wash water is contained and does not run off into water bodies or storm drains.
  • If wash water is filtered, dispose of solids that might contain invasive plant parts in a landfill.
  • Monitor wash-down areas periodically to check for the growth of invasive plants, and control as necessary.
  • Understand and follow correct procedures for the safe use of all washing equipment, including using appropriate personal protective equipment.

Yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

Common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)

Perennial sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis)

Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa)

Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe ssp micranthos)

Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)

downy brome (Bromus tectorum)

General Principles and Resources
  • Land owners and occupiers are responsible for controlling noxious weeds and destroying prohibited noxious weeds. Know your responsibilities under the Alberta Weed Control Act.
  • Learn to identify invasive plants.
  • Be alert for invasive plants and respond early when they are found.
  • Reduce the introduction of invasive plants as well as the reproduction and movement of their seeds and plant parts.
  • Reduce soil disturbance, which makes openings where invasive plants can establish.
  • Use effective, appropriate methods to control invasive plants. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and urban park departments can provide advice on control methods. Always follow label instructions when applying any herbicide.
  • Alberta Invasive Plant Identification Guide (from Wheatland County)
  • Alberta Invasive Species Council factsheets
  • Alberta Weed Control Act and Regulations
  • Alberta Weed Monitoring Network
Learn More

Find out more on this topic and access these additional resources at the following web page:
  • Invasive Weed Factsheets
  • Transportation: BMPs for Invasive Plant Species
  • Inspection and Cleaning Manual for Equipment and Vehicles (US Dept. of Interior)
  • Checklist For Cleandown Procedures (Queensland, Australia)
  • Preventing the Spread of Invasive Plants: BMPs for Land Managers. 3rd Edition (California Invasive Plant Council)
Source: Agdex 640-17. February 2014.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Chris Neeser.
This document is maintained by Jennifer Rutter.
This information published to the web on August 29, 2014.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 21, 2018.