Puncturevine a growing problem in the Southern Interior - InfoNews

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Puncturevine a growing problem in the Southern Interior

Puncturevine spreads readily in sandy and disturbed soils.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
June 14, 2018 - 6:30 PM

With seed pod spines hard enough to flatten a bicycle tire, you don't want you or your pet stepping on puncturevine, one of the many invasive plants in the Southern Interior.

Treatment programs for the invasive plants are underway by local governments up and down the valley as crews apply herbicides along highways and secondary roads. It's not yet a major concern in the Thompson area, but it may be just a matter of time. 

Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society executive director Lisa Scott says of particular concern this year is the proliferation of puncturevine, which has spread as far north as Vernon, as well as into the lower Similkameen Valley.

The plant’s seed pods act like tacks, spreading easily by attaching themselves to everything they come in contact with, including humans and animals, according to the Invasive Species Society website.

The seed burrs can create dangerous conditions for livestock, who can be injured if the vine is consumed. The vine is toxic to sheep. Pets and people in bare feet are vulnerable to the sharp spines, which are hardy enough to puncture the tire on a bicylce or small vehicle.

The plant can be found in sandy, well-drained soil and readily invades disturbed ground. It typically infests vacant lots, gravel parking areas, roadsides, unpaved trails and beaches and has more recently moved onto agricultural lands where crops border roads and even between crop rows.

Scott says there aren’t many control options available to fight the plant, and so far there has been significant apathy from landowners and land managers who fail to take appropriate and timely action to control it.

Landowners need to monitor their property regularly during the growing season and develop clear protocols for cleaning vehicles, machinery and footwear in areas where the vine is known to exist. The vine can be removed by hand or controlled by pre-emergent herbicides

Scott says fortunately there are no new invasive species of concern in the Okanagan so far this year.

Puncturevine is found in limited areas in the map portion outlined in red, while there is medium risk of spread in the purple area.
Puncturevine is found in limited areas in the map portion outlined in red, while there is medium risk of spread in the purple area.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

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