After it was spotted in about a dozen counties recently, Jimsonweed, also known as Devil’s Trumpet, has turned into something that farmers will have to watch out for, according to Quinton Beaumont, Director of Agricultural Services with the County of Stettler.
“Rotation, rotation, rotation,” said Beaumont, in reference to the best way of preempting the noxious weed. “Get some years between the canola crops. If a cereal crop is planted, there are more herbicide options available.”
According to Beaumont, if Jimsonweed is spotted, it is important to let the agricultural services know at the county immediately.
“Please call us and we will assist you in controlling,” said Beaumont. “Use gloves, and while pulling the plant ensure that all parts are pulled, double bag it and take it to the landfill.”
Agricultural fieldsmen recommends that the weed is not burnt at any point, because the smoke can be just as poisonous as ingesting the plant.
“It is important that Albertans handle this weed carefully, and dispose of it properly,” said Beaumont. “Jimsonweed is of concern to Canada and Alberta because it is classified as a Class 1 weed under the Weed Seeds Order of the Seeds Act (Canada).”
According to Beaumont, as a prohibited noxious weed seed under the Seeds Act, it must not be present in any seed imported into or sold in Canada.
The Seeds Act prohibits the sale of seed containing prohibited noxious weed seeds.
“Producers who have spotted Jimsonweed in their fields are asked to provide the following information to Agricultural Fieldsmen, or to Agriculture and Forestry (310-FARM) to help track and monitor the situation,” said Beaumont. “They should report on the number of plants, type of seed, where it was purchased, seed lots, and if available names of producers and contact information for them.”
Devil’s Trumpet is about one-and-a-half metres tall and towers over the canola.
“It has thick red-to-purple stems, trumpet-like flowers that are pinkish, purplish and whitish, and leaves with irregular toothed margins,” said Beaumont. “The seed pods are like spiked cucumbers and may contain 600 to 700 seeds per capsule, which explodes once it matures, expelling its seeds.”
Agriculture and Forestry, which continues to work with federal and provincial partners to assess any risks to livestock and food, because Jimsonweed poses a risk to livestock if ingested, but this risk is low, as livestock will avoid the plant due to its foul smell, when provided ample forage.