Concerned About Muskoka’s Invasive Plant Management? Here’s What You Need To Know

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Japanese knotweed. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

The District of Muskoka has contracted Weed Man to treat invasive species along roadsides from Sept. 8 to Oct. 15. If you’re a property owner that’s concerned about the use of herbicide, here’s what you need to know:

The weed control is targeting phragmites and Japanese knotweed, which are managed in late summer and early fall to reduce conflict with growing and breeding plants and animals, according to the district. The invasive species management plan includes the use of WeatherMax, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, a common but controversial component of weed killer. The district follows practices and removal techniques as recommended by the Ontario Invasive Plant Council and states that appropriate herbicide is the only efficient way to destroy the root structure of these plants.

“Invasive plants such as Giant Hogweed, Phragmites, and Japanese Knotweed are identified as presenting risks to human health, private and municipal infrastructure, and to the ecosystem as a whole – noting that surveys along roadsides have identified over 300 locations in Muskoka alone where these plants have become established,” said Stephanie Mack, director of Waste Management and Environmental Services for the district, via email. “The recommended Best Management Practice for controlling these plants includes the use of herbicides.”

The district’s herbicide use was advertised throughout the summer and the district provided information on their website, including a schedule and locations for herbicide application. The district’s contractor Weed Man provided written notice to occupied structures within 30 metres of proposed application sites. Property owners that received a notification and want to stop the municipality from using herbicides near their homes can contact the District of Muskoka at 705-645-6764.

For more information, visit the District of Muskoka website or read the district’s Frequently Asked Questions about invasive plant management. Additional resources can be found at ontarioinvasiveplants.ca, invadingspecies.com and ontario.ca/invasivespecies.