Invasive plants, often called weeds, are plants that have been introduced outside their natural habitat and impact native ecosystems, outcompete agricultural crops, and/or affect human or animal health. Land owners and managers have long recognized the need to control invasive plants to limit their impacts. In 2002, the ‘Guide to Weeds in BC’ was published by the Province of BC, providing a comprehensive resource for integrated weed management and identification.
In May 2018, a new smartphone app was released that was designed specifically for livestock and forage producers in BC. The Best Management Practices for Livestock and Forage Producers app (WeedsBMP app) is based on the ‘Guide to Weeds in BC’ and includes updated information on 95 invasive plant species directly relevant to forage and livestock production. The WeedsBMP app offers in depth information and imagery for identification as well as various ways in which to manage each species, including sources and contacts for more information.
Developed with support from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD), Government of Canada, Growing Forward 2 Initiative, and coordinated by the Invasive Species Council of BC, the new app is available for free download for both Apple and Android devices. Producers and Directors from the BC Cattleman’s Association and the BC Forage Council were instrumental in defining the structure and content of the new app and we hope it will help you successfully control invasive plants to minimize impacts on your livestock or forage production operation.
What information is available in the WeedsBMP app?
The WeedsBMP app includes identification and management information for 95 invasive plants. Users can search the app by common name, scientific name, and by flower colour to correctly identify an invasive plant and learn how to manage it. The plants are divided into two groups: 1) grasses, sedges and rushes; and 2) broad leaf plants.
Images: home page, grasses, sedges and rushes home screen; broad leaf plants home screen
For each species, detailed information is provided on identification, habitat and ecology, impacts, and management options.
Images: Screen shot of Hounds tongue home screen and screen shot of Hounds tongue management screen
The WeedsBMP App also includes a summary of regional and local contacts across the province, including IP Specialists from FLNRORD, local governments and regional invasive species organizations.
What can you do?
People taking responsible actions to prevent the spread of invasive plants is vital to the future of BC's range and agricultural lands. Preventing the spread and introduction of invasive species is the lowest cost and best management tool. Here are some simple steps to follow:
- Learn to recognize the invasive species in your area. The WeedsBMP App can help you with this!
- Check your vehicle and equipment and remove attached plants and plant parts before leaving an infested area.
- Follow the species-specific management options presented in the WeedsBMP App to successfully manage any invasive plants.
- Remember to bag isolated invasive plants for proper disposal after hand pulling – never compost them!