Kanaka Creek Regional Park staff are always on the lookout for plants that may pose a threat to the environment or park users. Thankfully, their alert skills paid off in identifying a single giant hogweed plant near the hatchery area of the park.
It has been dealt with, said Janice Jarvis, a biologist with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks. We cut it down and it will be treated with herbicide in the next pass of invasive species treatments.
Because of the proximity of the plant to the hatchery, Jarvis feels it, probably came in on someones car.
The base and roots of this giant hogweed will be treated with the same herbicide as knotweed, another invasive plant which had been problematic in the park.
Weve worked extensively on knotweed. On the second year of the control project, we saw a 90 per cent reduction in just one year, said Jennifer Grenz with the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver. Spectacular results.
Expect to see follow up for two to three years to ensure eradication, she noted.
The giant hogweed is another issue according to Grenz, due to its extremely toxic nature.
Users of that park need to be able to identify it at any stage of its growth, Grenz said. They certainly dont want their dogs running through it.
According to Grenz, simply touching giant hogweed is enough to transfer the toxic sap which can burn skin, cause blisters and welts when exposed to sunlight.
Lots of people have been burned just trying to cut it down, Grenz said. It is highly, highly toxic. People need to stay as far away from it as possible and keep pets away from it as well.
Unfortunately hogweed seeds are prolific.
Anywhere there is hogweed treatment, [people] can expect to see it come back again because of those seeds, noted Grenz. Small plants that are a centimetre high are just as dangerous as those 15 feet high.
With the removal of the plant in Kanaka Regional Park, its too early to tell whether it will pose a recurring issue, but Jarvis confirmed Metro Vancouver Regional Parks will keep watch.
The good news is that many sites that have been under treatment have [had the hogweed] eradicated, said Grenz.
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