I'm a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad neighbour.

  • August 20, 2006

Dear neighbours, 

 I have mowed and removed the series of noxious weeds which were growing alongside your fence line this evening. 

 Please be advised that the weeds in question were primarily Canadian Thistle, however there were also small quantities of Sow Thistle, Chickweed, Stinkweed, and numerous other varieties I did not identify. 

 The above stated varieties are explicitly listed in Schedule B of the Community Standards Bylaw 5M2004 which may be found on the City of Calgary’s web site under City Hall > Municipal Government > Bylaws > Bylaws of Interest > Weed Control > Weed Regulations and are weeds that must be controlled by law.

 Previously this weekend we had a discussion with the landowner where it was discussed that the area under question is expected to have been cared for.  We were granted permission to clean said area directly from the landowner as we saw fit.

 Tonight when you addressed me you told me that the landowner had instructed you to not cut the area because they had been treated.  Allow me to presume that it would be a broadleaf herbicide that will act on broadleaf (also known as dichotomous) plants with little to no effect upon grasses (or monocot plants).  The most likely herbicide which would have been used would have been a brand containing “2,4-D”.  It is sold in many formulations under several brand names.  The full name of the chemical is “2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid” and it is a plant hormone which causes death in actively growing broadleaf weeds.  In Canada, it has been deemed safe for use on lawns.

 Unfortunately, to the situation at hand, treatment of said plants is quite ineffective during this period of the year.  Please note above I had stated that the treatment works best when the weeds are actively growing.  The Canadian Thistle, in particular, had already gone to seed and the seeds were actively being distributed by the wind.  Although this problem had been noted and brought to your attention several times previously, it was the large collection of air-borne seeds which had collected in our petunias in the planter that particularly brought my attention to the problem.

 Herbicidal treatments have very little effect whatsoever upon seeds.  Seeds are a strong, resilient package which are self-contained and quite tolerant against herbicides and other chemicals which are unable to penetrate the protective seed coats - much as your own skin protects you.

 In such circumstance, as many of the seeds and offending parent plants as possible must be removed manually.  To the best of my ability they have been contained in a garbage bag and disposed with.  Given that the weeds themselves are perennial plants, treatment should be reapplied.  2,4-D has been proven to have significant effectiveness in the fall just prior to the first freeze and I strongly recommend re-treatment in the first or second week of September.  Given the severity of the infestation, I also recommend a subsequent treatment in the spring.

 If the landowner is willing to contact me on my cell phone at , I will happily arrange with him that in the fall, in conjunction with the treatment of my own lawn, I shall safely and effectively apply herbicidal treatment along the fence as well.  I will treat the affected area at my own expense in the efforts of controlling the weeds and protecting our own lawn.  Should he have a brand preference, I will be more than happy to comply.

I take extreme offence with being called an “ass”, particularly in front of children.  My efforts are aimed strictly at applying my expertise to resolve a problem which has festered far too long.  Given the severity of the situation, it had reached a point where I too have become required by the Community Standards Law to act, and with permission from the landowner I have presently resolved the situation as well as I am able.  Follow up is required and I intend to see that all is made correct.

 If you have been offended by any encroachment, I do not apologize, but I share your offence.  The weeds have encroached our yard much too long for inaction to be tolerable.

 Should there be further concerns, I expect them to be addressed with me directly, without insult or sarcasm.


  Mark Zaugg