Weed Of The Week - Leafy Spurge

Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia virgata AKA Euphorbia esula)
Noxious Under Alberta's Weed Control Act
Submitted By Kelly Cooley, CoolPro Solutions

One of the most invasive introduced plants in Southern Alberta is Leafy Spurge. This creeping-rooted perennial mainly spreads via its extensive creeping root system (see photos), which generates above ground shoots from buds along these roots, which can grow to 7.6 metres (25 feet) deep, and up to 4.5 metres (15 feet) laterally. Leafy Spurge is highly adaptable, capable of invading and completely dominating desired native vegetation in creek & riverbanks, upland and lowland pastures, crop and hay fields, and even lake & reservoir shorelines. Leafy Spurge now infests more than 2 million hectares (5 million acres) in 35 US states and nearly all Canadian provinces. The MD of Pincher Creek has for decades partnered with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada to release the black dot spurge beetle (see photos of the Aphthona lacertosa beetle below) which exclusively feed on Leafy Spurge. After hundreds of area releases of these insects, and with patience, the beetles have adapted to our Chinook climate and are controlling large infestations of Leafy Spurge throughout the municipality. Beetles are harvested as adults at these sites to relocate to other Leafy Spurge patches. With experienced shepherding and grazing management, sheep and goats can also be trained to feed on Leafy Spurge, but this method should not be employed where wild bighorn sheep and mountain goats reside due to the risk of disease transfer from the domestic stock. More information on this aggressive invader can be found in the Leafy Spurge fact sheet from the Alberta Invasive Species Council, and you can report this invader yourself using their free EDDMapS application on your mobile device. For local Leafy Spurge control options, please contact our Agricultural Fieldman at 403-339-8741.  
 
Photo Credits:
Kelly Cooley, CoolPro Solutions
Karma Tiberg, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org

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Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9
Box 279
1037 Herron Avenue, Pincher Creek, AB T0K 1W0
Phone: 403-627-3130       Fax: 403-627-5070
Email: info@mdpinchercreek.ab.ca
Office Hours: By Appointment Only due to COVID-19

Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9
Box 279
1037 Herron Avenue
Pincher Creek, AB T0K 1W0
Phone: 403-627-3130
Fax: 403-627-5070
Email: info@mdpinchercreek.ab.ca
Office Hours: By Appointment Only due to COVID-19
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