Ag News & Events

List of Upcoming Events and Products

Regenerative Gardening Workshop: Save the date!
  • May 10, 2024 from 10 am - 3:30 pm at the Evergreen Hall. If you love to garden but hate weeding and watering, join us as we explore no till gardening with Kim Ross of Rossdale Farm. Registration on Eventbrite. Click here to register.
Annual Weed Workshops: Save the date!
  • May 21, 2024 from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm Condor Community Hall
  • May 28, 2024 from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm Crammond Hall
Come out and partake in the provided education on weed management in Clearwater County. We will discuss weeds of concern and available herbicides. Free to attend and lunch will be provided! Contact 403-846-4040 to register. 
Tree Seedling Program: 
  • Spruce and pine seedlings available to purchase for shelterbelt or woodlot rejuvenation with a July delivery. Seedlings are first come first serve. Application forms can be found on Clearwater County’s website. Deadline to submit application forms is June 7th. Contact 403-846-4040 or email landcare@clearwatercounty.ca for more information.
Hemp Fiber Mats for Purchase:
  • Weeds rob seedlings of moisture, nutrients and sunlight therefore new plantings may benefit from this form of vegetation management. Available in 12" for $.66 or 18" for $1.35. Place an order with your 2024 seedling order or separately. For more information call 403-846-4040.
Caring for My Land funding Program (C4ML) 
  • The C4ML program offers 25%-75% funding – up to $5000 - through Alberta Environment and Parks Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program and EPCORE. 
  • To learn more, click here or contact us at 403-846-4040 / landcare@clearwatercounty.ca.
Join the Landcare email list:
  •  Are you interested in grant programs and new funding opportunities, virtual events, workshops, webinars, and receiving educational articles or video links relating to healthy and sustainable water and land? 
  • Send an email to landcare@clearwatercounty.ca to be subscribed!

Most Recent Ag News Article

April 17, 2024 - Fight Won Against Mountain Pine Beetle 

No Longer a Threat to Pine in Clearwater County.

In 2017, Jasper National Park was mass attacked and in 2018, Mountain Pine Beetle made its presence known in Clearwater County.

For those not familiar with Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB), this seemingly insignificant insect, no bigger than a short grain of rice, carries a blue stain fungus that is fatal if enough beetles successfully attack a pine tree.

As an incoming beetle attempts to create an entry hole into a tree, the tree fights back, trying to pitch the beetle out. Hence the appearance of a cluster of ooze called a pitch tube, extruding a wad of gum-like sap.

The beetle carries the fungus, but it also chews and lays eggs in a distinctive J-shape tunnel. Larvae from hatched eggs eat then lateral tunnels, eventually growing into another generation of beetles.

Mature beetles synchronize a flight to attack other pine trees and continue the cycle of destruction of older, mature pine. An overwhelming successful attack means a blue stain death is assured after only 10 days.

On the outside the tree does not show it has died until later. Dead trees maintain green needles in the first months after death but give way to a yellow/red appearance the following year. Eventually all needles drop leading to a grey/brown appearance.  

Clearwater County has worked diligently with the provincial government to address the Mountain Pine Beetle infestations over the last few years by monitoring the spread and providing control efforts on private land. 

Due to diligent work, boots on the ground efforts and with the help of mother nature’s frigid winters, officials recently stated the province has had "striking progress" against the pests – the most destructive problem facing pine forests. 

Mountain Pine Beetle populations have declined 98 per cent since the beetle’s peak in 2019 with populations expected to decline even further next year, says the province. Providing less worry for landowners which is great news, especially for those with large pine forests or specialty pine trees around the homestead.

Clearwater County has remaining verbenone repellent pouches available for landowners to purchase in June if they wish to use them. The verbenone repellent pouches were commonly used by forestry companies, municipalities, and landowners over the last few years when Mountain Pine Beetle populations were high. 

The purpose of the pouches is to protect hi-valued pine trees over a small area as the pouches mimic a naturally occurring chemical pheromone that leads invading beetles to think “this tree is full”, thus warding off an attack on uninfected trees. 

Hang one pouch per tree between June 15 and July 1 at a 5m radius to the next pouch. Splitting a package with a neighbor is encouraged as pouches come in packages of 10, if you have only a few trees to protect. 

Though populations of the Mountain Pine Beetle have declined, this is not to say that you should turn a blind eye to MPB going forward or other possible tree issues that may arise or be found. Doing so could save your woodlot, shelterbelt, or the trees in your yard. 

Here are some steps residents and visitors can take to eliminate the spread of pests and tree disease:

  1. Be careful with firewood. If you bring firewood home from an infected tree you risk spreading a pest on to trees on your property and in your neighborhood.
  2. Keep trees healthy, as any tree stressed by a lack of moisture, poor pruning, trunk or root injury and topping, are at greater risk of disease.  
  3. Diversify your wooded areas with different tree species. Always be planning for the next generation of trees.
  4. Be realistic about life expectancy. Every tree is ultimately terminal. An end-of-life strategy for trees includes knowing when to remove them. Assess your trees before they become a problem.        
  5. Take responsibility for trees on your own property. A landowner is ultimately responsible as the provincial government does not control trees on private or municipal land.

 

Clearwater County Ag and Community Services staff are available to assist landowners with inquiries regarding pests or tree health issues and best management or control options. Feel free to give us a call at 403-846-4040.