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Features Weed Management
Editorial: weeding out the problem

April 8, 2024  By Derek Clouthier

Last year in our March issue – with the theme of weed control – I wrote about my ongoing challenge controlling dandelions in my front yard. I talked about how I felt bad (sometimes embarrassed), in the spring or early summer for my neighbour when these little yellow rascals take hold of my half of our yard, which at certain times they surely do get the best of me. My neighbour struggled with dandelion management when they first moved in as well but have since put a stranglehold on the wildflowers.

I have tried multiple products and even contemplated hiring a professional to take care of these relentless weeds. And last year I did make some headway against what I guess to be around 50-70 dandelions adorning my front yard. But not before another neighbour decided my yard too unsightly for our neighbourhood.

My mother was at my house when bylaw made a visit, but I was away from the house for a few minutes, so my mom talked with the officer when he arrived, and coming home to the smirk on her face was both amusing and annoying. Amusing because in any situation like this, I do try to find the funny side. And after having spent so much time in my front yard spraying, digging and likely cursing at these little yellow flowers, I wondered how anyone could feel the need to try and have me fined for an unsightly yard. Thankfully, the bylaw officer agreed. Apparently in the law, it is written that if there is evidence that the homeowner is trying to improve the yard’s situation, they cannot be fined. The wilted dandelions in my yard were enough evidence for him. 


I am proud to say that I did get things under control last summer, mostly with tedious, hard work – digging the dandelions out of the ground. However, I’m not so naive to think there won’t be new dandelions making my yard their home this coming spring, so I know the work is not done. 

And as I review the articles for this issue and prepare our 2024 weed control guide for printing, I know that farmers are also preparing to fight back against weeds this spring – aiming to reduce the competition for water, nutrients and sunlight, giving young crops the best chance for a strong start. Some of the articles you will find in this issue will address such concerns as cleavers, and how this problem weed has become a challenge for those in the Black soil zone. There is also a story on how to expand weed control options for chickpeas, and, of course, we can’t forget our March supplement Weed Control Guide, which features an article on weed control in lentil.

So, I guess the only piece of advice I would have, is if you do see weeds in your neighbour’s yard and they are out there trying to get control of the darn things, don’t call bylaw on them…I’m sure they’re trying to weed out the problem. 


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