Vegetation Management

The Smoky Lake County Agricultural Services follows a complete Vegetation Management Plan for each growing season. The Program uses an integrated management approach with a number of tools to help control prohibited and noxious weeds as designated by the Weed Control Act, grass and brush within the County. Management tools include: blanket spraying, spot spraying in conjunction with weed inspections, brush spraying, a road-side mowing program and reverse fence-line spraying.

Hay Permits  

Landowners are able to fill out a Hay Permit application from Smoky Lake County which allows the haying of County right-of-ways.

Hay Permits must be submitted before June 1st of each year and are valid from June 15th to August 1st. 

This application is submitted at no charge from the county. Filling out this permit allows the Agricultural Services Department to coordinate their mowing and spraying programs that it will ensure the landowner has ample opportunity to cut the county ditch adjacent to their land before mowing or spraying commences.

Download the Hay Permit Policy and Form

Mowing Program

Smoky Lake County will mow developed road allowances annually to maintain safe visibility for the travelling public and to improve drainage of infrastructure. The mowing program also promotes effective control of weeds and brush within the municipal right-of-way encroaching the roads surface.  

One-pass herbicide mowers will begin mowing operation the first week of June for more effective weed control. Non-herbicide mower operations will begin the last week of June. All mowing operations will cease no later than November 1st.

View the Mowing Program Policy  

Reverse Fenceline Spray Program

As part of an integrated approach in weed management, landowners can  apply to have their field margins sprayed from their property line outwards into the County Right of Way to control invasive species on fence lines and field margins. Landowners interested in participating in the “Reverse Fenceline Program” must sign Schedule “B”: Reverse Fenceline Spray Program – Application Form.


Weed Management

Smoky Lake County actively works to detect and control invasive weeds in the County and to educate residents on control measures. By using multiple control methods such as mechanical mowing, hand-pulling, herbicide application, seeding, and weed inspections, as well as actively involving landowners and maintaining weed management records, the County can limit the spread of invasive weeds in an efficient and proactive way. Some of the ways we do this include: 

Road Side Weed Control- Roadside spraying controls undesirable weeds and brush in ditches throughout the County. The program ensures that vegetation in all county ditches is controlled through herbicide applications, mowing, hand-picking, and competition by ensuring bare areas are seeded to grasses. The County is broken up into 3 sections, with a 1/3 of the County being blanket sprayed each year. Spot spraying is conducted in problem areas as needed.

Weed Inspections- Each summer, Smoky Lake County appoints Weed Inspectors who conduct weed inspections and investigate complaints, while increasing awareness of invasive weed species and weed management in the County. Weed Inspectors have the ability to enter onto land at a reasonable time to monitor compliance with the Weed Control Act. It is an offense to willfully obstruct or delay them while they are exercising their duties. Weed Inspectors are looking for noxious or prohibited noxious weeds as defined in the Weed Control Regulations. The goal is to create awareness about weed concerns and educate residents on why these weeds are of concern.  

Weed Reports- If a Weed Inspector finds noxious or prohibited-noxious weeds on a property, they will inform the landowner and provide guidance and information to control the issue. Weed Inspectors document the inspection results with a formal Weed Report, which details all inspections on the property as well as attempts to contact the landowner, and any subsequent actions taken. The intention of a Weed Report is to communicate the issue with the landowner, and initiate a weed control plan with the landowner. 

If a landowner is not willing to work with the Weed Inspector and fails to comply with their request to control Prohibited Noxious or Noxious Weeds, they will receive a Weed Notice; a legal document notifying the landowner of a weed infestation and setting a firm deadline for control. If the County has to act to control the weed infestation, the cost of weed control action will be billed to the landowner.

Prohibited Noxious & Noxious Weeds

Under provincial legislation, the Weed Control Act identifies weeds of concern as either Prohibited Noxious or Noxious, requiring eradication or control. All public and private landowners, including the County, have an obligation to prevent the growth, propagation and spread of these weeds. 

Prohibited Noxious Weeds
These restricted weeds pose a serious threat to agriculture and the environment and as such, must be eradicated. These weeds are capable of very rapid spread, are extremely competitive and can quickly destroy native vegetation and crops.

View the complete list of Prohibited Noxious Weeds in Alberta

Smoky Lake County's Most Wanted Prohibited Noxious Weeds
All parts of the plant (seeds included) must be destroyed

Himalayan Balsam 
Hoary Alyssum  
Bighead Knapweed

Noxious Weeds
Noxious weeds have the ability to spread rapidly, cause severe crop losses and economic hardship. Some noxious weeds are also toxic to domestic animals and wildlife. Noxious weeds must be controlled. 

View the complete list of Noxious Weeds in Alberta

Smoky Lake County's Most Wanted Noxious Weeds
Must be controlled through spraying, mowing, hand pulling

Canada ThistleLeafy Spurge
Common Baby's BreathOxeye Daisy
Common BurdockScentless Chamomile
Common TansyTall Buttercup
Creeping BellflowerWhite Cockle
Field ScabiousYellow Toadlfax