Members of the Grassland Conservation Council of B.C. with bags of Spotted Knapweed they pulled near the Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands Interpretive site last year. Know when it’s safe to pull and bag invasive species, and how not to let them spread. (Photo credit: Lauren Letham)

Members of the Grassland Conservation Council of B.C. with bags of Spotted Knapweed they pulled near the Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands Interpretive site last year. Know when it’s safe to pull and bag invasive species, and how not to let them spread. (Photo credit: Lauren Letham)

Invasive plants: you’ve got to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em

What do you do if you find an invasive plant while out waking? That depends on a few things

By Catherine Tarasoff

Now is the time that we start seeing signs of invasive plants during our recreational activities. Sometimes it is hard to know when to pull an invasive, when to leave an invasive, and what to do if you don’t have a bag handy. Outlined below is a guideline of what to do based on the stage of development of the plant. In the following scenarios, we are assuming the plant reproduces only by seed (no rhizomes or running roots).

Early Development

When a plant is early in its stage of flower development you will see just the buds starting to swell. At this stage, it is safe to pull the plant and either leave it on-site or carry it out and dispose of it once you are home. The flowers have not opened; therefore, pollination has not occurred and seeds will not be formed.

Flowers are opened

Once the flowered are open there is no way to know if they have been pollinated or not. Therefore, once flowers are present it is not safe to pull the plant and leave it on-site, as seeds may still form. It is safe to carry pulled plants to your home if you do not have a bag.

Flowers are dry

Dry flowers contain many, if not hundreds, of seeds inside. At this stage, you must put pulled plants into a bag. If you pull a plant and then walk to your car, you will be shaking seeds along your trail like a pepper shaker. If you do not have a bag, you are best to leave the plant where it is. Make a point to return early next summer and pull up the plant, along with its seedlings, before the flowers dry.

The last point of invasive plant disposal that I am often asked is “What about burning?” Many folks have burn piles, but for invasive plants I recommend a burn pit. When ignited in a burn pile, the foliage of the plant is burned, but the seeds are left, like dust, on the ground. When the wind comes the seeds are blown across the landscape. In contrast, a burn pit ensures seeds cannot escape.

No matter where you are exploring, have fun and practice Play-Clean-Go to stop invasive species in your tracks!

COME CLEAN: Remove plants and mud from your footwear, gear, and pets before exploring.

STAY on designated trails to reduce the chance of picking up seeds and mud that carry invasive plants.

LEAVE CLEAN: Remove plants and mud from your footwear, gear, and pets after exploring.

Catherine Tarasoff is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Thompson-Nicola Invasive Plant Management Committee (on Facebook @TNIPMC). This season, articles are dedicated to “Stopping Invasive Species in Your Tracks! Tools and tips for preventing invasive species while enjoying the outdoors.” Look for more resources at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Thompson Nicola Regional District

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual internet speeds in B.C. communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read