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Weeds and Unsightly Premises

The City of Lethbridge encourages all residents and business owners to control the growth of weeds on their property and to keep properties free of excess amounts of debris or items that lead to unsightly premises.

Weed control and complaints

Under the Government of Alberta’s Weed Control Act, the City is obligated to control the growth of restricted weeds on public property in Lethbridge. Our Weed Control Bylaw outlines the control or destruction of noxious and prohibited weeds, and their management and enforcement.

Controlling weeds on your property

Property owners must control noxious weeds and destroy prohibited noxious weeds on the land they occupy. Noxious weeds include:

  • Flixweed (Descurainia Sophia)
  • Goat’s Beard (Tragopogon dubius)
  • Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium album)
  • False Ragweed (Iva xanthifolia)
  • Kochia (Brassica scoparia)
  • Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola)
  • Redroot Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus)
  • Round-leaved Mallow (Malva rotundifolia)
  • Stinkweed (Thlaspi arvense)

Report a weed complaint

To report a weed complaint, please call 3-1-1 (or 403-320-3111 outside city limits). Please be ready with the address of problem property, as well as your name, address and phone number.

We issue weed control notices to private property owners to address the problem. We regularly issue more than 700 notices each year to control noxious weeds.

Receiving a weed complaint

If you receive a weed control notice, you must comply with the information in the notice by the indicated date. Property owners who do not comply will be billed for the work performed by the City.

If you choose to spray, rather than cut and remove noxious weeds, please contact our Regulatory Services department by calling 3-1-1 (or 403-320-3111 outside city limits) or by visiting us at City Hall on the first floor during regular business hours to let us know the actions you have taken.

Dandelions are not considered a noxious weed within the city and there are no regulations on the control of dandelions in Lethbridge.

Foxtail is a perennial grass that can grow within the city. Although it is not designated as a noxious weed by the Government of Alberta, it can be extremely harmful to pets. We control Foxtail on public property by mowing and weed whipping where it is abundant. We work with property owners to control Foxtail, particularly in vacant lots.

What is Foxtail?

Foxtail is distinctly identified by its tufted head that resembles the tail of a fox. Foxtail grows in all soil types and moisture levels and adapts to dry, alkaline soil found around storm ponds and wetlands, dry lowlands and disturbed sites. It grows in bare areas surrounding receded water and soils with high salinity. It can grow where noxious weeds are found.

Why is Foxtail an issue?

Foxtail matures in early summer. Once mature, the fluffy green seeds turn brownish red and become dry, barbed and sharp. The barbs catch wind, fur and clothing to disperse around an area.

The barbed seeds can become lodged in the eyes, ears, noses and paws of animals, including pets and wildlife. This causes damage and severe pain. If a dog digests seed heads, they can cause serious illness or even death. Seeds can also be irritating to people, as they can work their way through clothing and scratch or pierce skin.

There is also a higher risk of fire in areas with dense population of Foxtail.

How do I control Foxtail?

If you have Foxtail on your property, you can address it by:

  • Picking or tilling – Foxtail has a short, fibrous root that can be effectively picked or tilled.
  • Mowing – Mowing should be done before the seeds set; usually around May or June. After seeds have developed, mowing only further disperses Foxtail seeds. Manually bag and dispose the seeds in this case.
  • Herbicides – Spraying Foxtail with herbicide is an effective treatment. Consult with your local garden centre for more information and recommendations.
  • Soil amendments – Increasing nitrogen levels in the soil helps manage Foxtail and lets preferred grasses outcompete the species. Adding nitrogen-rich compost or fertilizer to infested areas may help.

Pet safety

You can protect your pet by:

  • Avoiding areas where Foxtail and other weeds are growing
  • Always keeping your dog on a leash
  • Trimming the hair between your dog’s toes, around the ears and the belly
  • Checking their coat for Foxtail and brushing your pet after being outdoors
  • Using a netted muzzle on dogs

Submit a concern

Submit a concern regarding Foxtail by calling Lethbridge 3-1-1 (or 403-320-3111 outside city limits).

Invasive weed pulls

To learn more about prohibited noxious weeds, join an invasive weed pull event, hosted by the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. Invasive weed pulls help to protect the natural biodiversity of our region. We encourage the community to participate so we can effectively deploy an “early detection, rapid response” strategy for prohibited noxious weeds in our river valley.

Learn about:

  • Problems of invasive species
  • Integrated pest management programs
  • How to properly identify and remove prohibited noxious weeds like spotted knapweed and diffuse knapweed

Unsightly premises

Our Unsightly Premises Bylaw sets regulations around the condition of properties within the City of Lethbridge. Properties must be maintained in a consistent manner to those within a one-block radius.

Violations of this bylaw would include:

  • An excess number of debris or items that are stored outdoors on residential property
  • Storing more than one unregistered vehicle
  • Storing a vehicle with the superstructure removed

Report an unsightly property

To report an unsightly property, please call 3-1-1 (or 403-320-3111 outside city limits). Please be ready with the address of problem property, as well as your name, address and phone number.

We will inspect the property and if there appears to be a bylaw violation, we will issue a notice to the property owner.

Receiving an unsightly premises notice

If you receive an unsightly premises notice from the City, you must comply with the direction outlined in the notice.

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