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Last updated: 08/02/2017
IMAGE - Flore

Ecological Maintenance of ragweed

Once a year (end of July – beginning of August), over a one-week period, Ville de Saint-Lazare sprays ragweed-infested areas such as parks, playgrounds, road approaches and bike paths with an ecological product called Adios Ambros, a 100% natural product with minimal environmental impact which has been approved by Health Canada. This herbicide has no negative effect on human health or the environment and presents no risk for those who apply it or those who visit treated sites.  The grass may turn yellow for a while, which is normal, but it will soon recover.

Ragweed - Dealing with it… before August!

Stuffy nose, weeping, itchy eyes? From August to the first frost periods, ragweed relentlessly pursues its victims. So without further delay, let’s learn to identify this weed whose Latin name is Ambrosia artemisifolia. Once unmasked, uprooting it will be a simple task.

This plant, responsible for the discomforts of hay fever, looks pretty harmless and bears a resemblance to many weeds. And that is the secret to its success: being able to go unnoticed!

Short ragweed grows to an average height of 70 cm. Its stem, covered with hairs, is crowned by thin and deeply lobed, greyish green leaves. They are opposite at the base and alternate higher up. During the months of June and July, the plant bears tiny green flowers that grow closely together in a terminal spike. In August, it blooms, releasing billions of grains of pollen into the air. And that is when its harmful effects begin to spread!

An urban habitat
Before you can proceed to eliminate ragweed, you have to know where it grows. It spreads in colonies, feeding on the sun’s rays. Short ragweed seems to have a penchant for growing on railroad tracks, sidewalk edges, construction sites, vacant lots, a bare spot of land where grass has been burned off by calcium, a spot in the garden where the soil has been disturbed.

Rather unpleasant symptoms
Quite inconspicuously, short ragweed causes a great deal of discomfort among 17.5% or more of our population. Its pollen triggers a severe reaction in some unfortunate individuals:

· Nasal irritation
· Tingling at the back of the throat
· Repeated sneezing
· Weeping and swelling of the eyes
· Sinus congestion
· Brassy cough or even chronic asthma for some

Health problems, runaway social costs due to medical expenses and work absenteeism, these are just some of the consequences of this phenomenon deserving our full attention. A drastic solution is called for: eliminate the problem at the source by getting rid of the culprit!

Ragweed may be handled quite safely and can therefore be uprooted at any time without risk. Because the seeds are able to survive in the soil for over 40 years, it is important to adopt every possible measure to eliminate the plant as soon as it is identified.

Dealing with it... before August!
How do you get rid of this horrible plant? The simplest way is to uproot it. This is easily done since it has a scarcely developed root system. But bear in mind that this operation has to be performed in June or July at the latest, i.e. before the plant blooms.

As a means of preventing the spread of this weed, perform regular lawn maintenance. Mow the grass evenly, especially along the edges, making sure to fill in any bare spots.

Although uprooting remains the most practical method of elimination, regular mowing down of this undesirable weed is a useful option when an area is covered in ragweed. This will prevent the devastating effects of the plant’s blooming. However, if the situation is beyond your control, the services of a professional can undoubtedly save a ragweed-infested property.

Poison ivy

Poison ivy: learning to identify it, to better avoid it

If you've ever had a reaction to poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), you have no doubt learned to identify it. The painful blistering caused by poison ivy is not something anyone wants to live more than once. Urushiol, an oily compound found in all parts of the plant, triggers an allergic reaction in 85% of the population.

Although you may not be allergic to urushiol today, it is possible to develop the allergy later on in life. In other words, it is best to avoid the plant as much as possible.

To avoid the plant, one must be able to identify it. The most prominent feature of the plant is the foliage. Each leaf has three leaflets. The leaflet borders are mostly smooth and often have a few coarse teeth. The flowers are small and green and grow at the base of the leaf stems. The fruit are whitish in colour. Certainly the most frustrating characteristic of the plant is that it creeps and therefore may easily spread and cover large patches of land. Usually, poison ivy will favour open or disturbed woods. It will often be found growing at the edge of a forest or small wooded area.

To contract poison ivy, direct contact with the plant is not necessary. One can get a reaction simply by petting an animal that has come into contact with the plant. Your clothing can also transfer urushiol to your skin. Clothing that has come into contact with poison ivy should be washed immediately.

Wash any skin that you think may have come into contact with poison ivy. Use an oil-free soap or go for a refreshing dip in a lake!

If you are a Saint-Lazare resident and think you have poison ivy on your property, you may call Ligne verte.


Ecological info sheet

Giant Hogweed

Be prudent when getting rid of it!

Ville de Saint-Lazare whishes to inform its residents of the possible appearance of an poisonous invasive specy which can cause skin burn. The Town is asking its residents to be prudent when getting rid of it and to register it.

According to Développement durable, Environnement et Parcs Ministry, the giant hogweed first appeared in Québec in 1990.  It is a poisonous, invasive, exotic species. Its sap is toxic. Contact with its sap can cause painful skin reactions similar to burns.

For more information on controlling giant hogweed,
contact Centre d’information du ministère du Développement durable,
de l’Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs (MDDEFP)

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1960, chemin Sainte-Angélique, Saint-Lazare (Québec), J7T 3A3
Telephone: 450 424-8000

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