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Citizens of High Level, the Town needs your help in the battle against Scentless Chamomile!
The Town is asking local residents to be on the lookout for the noxious weed and to help stamp it out anywhere it might be growing. Scentless Chamomile (Matricaria perforate) is considered an invasive, noxious weed that is often found running along roadsides and fence lines. For farmers, the weed reduces yields in fields, pastures, and cropland. It is a particular concern in hay fields.
Scentless Chamomile arrived in Canada from Europe in the 1930s and has since spread to most of Alberta.
It is also sometimes known as Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, or can be mistaken for Daisy. It has daisy-like flowers and finely-divided fern-like leaves. The flowers are solitary and can be found at the end of smooth branches.
Scentless Chamomile is often confused with Ox-Eye Daisy. The difference can be seen in the leaves – Ox-Eye Daisy leaves are entire and notched but not divided. Additionally, Ox-Eye Daisy has a single flower on a stem while Scentless Chamomile can have many flowers on a stem.
The flowers measure two to three centimetres in diameter, and the plant itself can measure from 15 centimetres to more than one metre in height. It tends to be bushy when not competing with other plants.
Scentless Chamomile seeds are dark brown, two-millimetre-long rectangles with prominent wing-like ribs which are paler than the kernel. The root system can be large and fibrous but does not run or creep.
A single plant can produce a million seeds. And in a dense stand, up to 1.8 million seeds per square metre can be produced. One flower can be responsible for 300 seeds – and they develop quickly. As soon as a flower forms, the seeds are viable.
The Province of Alberta suggests one of the best ways to avoid issues with Scentless Chamomile is to make efforts to prevent its spread in the first place. Transportation networks can be one of the main ways it is spread. This means drainage draws, road ditches, and railway right-of-ways can be a source of infestation.
Pulling plants and putting them in the landfill is the most effective way of dealing with Scentless Chamomile. Catching them before they have a chance to seed can effectively reduce the chances of an infestation.
Spot treatment in areas where Scentless Chamomile has been eliminated is one way local residents can limit the spread of the plant.
Seed production can be managed in the short term by mowing the plants before the flowers have a chance to form, but this is only a stop-gap measure as new flowers will form on the plant with more seeds.
The Town of High Level’s Community Standards Bylaw includes a section which requires property owners to control noxious weeds on their property.