GFM Network News


Perennial sow-thistle.

Perennial sow thistle costs farmers across Alberta

Noxious Weeds: Perennial sow thistle causes yield loss and acts as a host for pests

Often found in high densities across Alberta, perennial sow thistle seems to be a noxious weed that doesn’t quit. Not only does this pest cause significant yield loss in many crops, but it’s a host for several plant pests that attack economically important crops such as alfalfa, winter wheat and canola — just to name […] Read more



Seed from Canada thistle can germinate eight to 10 days after flowering, but roots — not seeds — are the main way that this noxious weed spreads.

This quick-spreading weed gets an early start

Noxious weeds: Canada thistle

Spring brings lovely native flowers, but also noxious weeds. The aggressive perennial Canada thistle is a favourite of disturbed soils of all types. It starts sending shoots from horizontal roots to the surface of soil around mid-April, with flowers to follow in mid-June and continuing throughout the summer. Easy to distinguish from other weeds, this […] Read more

Common buckthorn, which has been found in two Alberta locations, can easily outcompete native species.

This tree is also a noxious weed

Common buckthorn, otherwise known as European buckthorn, has been found in two locations in Alberta — in Edmonton along the North Saskatchewan River and in Stettler County. It was originally brought to North America from Eurasia as an ornamental, but soon spread throughout the continent. High seed production and excellent tolerance to Canada’s climate allow […] Read more



Hound’s tongue isn’t palatable to grazers, but when consumed in hay, it is poisonous, especially for cattle and horses.

This toxic hitchhiker is a threat to livestock

Noxious Weeds: Hound's tongue

Hound’s tongue is a weak competitor and doesn’t do well in healthy rangeland — but it compensates for that by being an excellent hitchhiker. This noxious weed produces up to 4,000 seeds per plant, and each one is barbed and easily attaches itself to clothing or fur. It also produces toxic alkaloids that cause irreversible […] Read more


The size of this baby’s breath plant shows how well it can prosper in the Alberta landscape.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Noxious Weeds: Baby's breath

Many people think of baby’s breath as a cute, delicate filler flower found in rose bouquets. The real plant found in the Prairies couldn’t be further from this image. This weed has a taproot that can reach the astonishing depth of four metres, and it can grow as wide as 41 centimetres in circumference. And […] Read more




Garlic mustard: An odorous invader

So far, garlic mustard has only been reported in Edmonton and St. Albert. While this species has not yet been spotted in agricultural areas, early identification and response is key in preventing the spread of this biennial weed. Garlic mustard has severely invaded forest understoreys in other provinces, as it generally prefers shaded areas and […] Read more