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Invasive Species

This page was last reviewed on November 28, 2023.

How to Report Invasive Species in Cumberland

  1. Email a photo and location to the Coastal Invasive Species Committee or call 1-250-871-5117.
  2. Use the BC interactive Report a Weed map tool.

Find out more about invasive species from

2017 Program

Local governments in the Comox Valley are joining forces to bust toxic and destructive alien invasive plants.

Report all sightings of knotweed and giant hogweed in Cumberland to the Coastal Invasive Species Committee by email or by calling 250-871-5117.

Grow Me Instead

Find great planting alternatives to the 26 most invasive plants available in the horticulture business and other resources from the Invasive Species Council of BC.

Grow Me Instead Snapshot Brochure

Grow Me Instead Booklet

Cumberland Knotweed Update – July 2015

photo for web

Knotweed on Comox Lake Road

The regional program launched in 2013 aimed at reporting and eradicating invasive knotweed species from the Comox Valley will continue in 2015, including all four local governments (Town of Comox, City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland and the Comox Valley Regional District).

Knotweeds threaten biodiversity and disrupt the food chain by reducing available habitat and increasing soil erosion potential. Stream banks are at particular risk as exposed knotweed roots break off and float downstream to form new infestations. Knotweeds can reduce or eliminate access to water bodies for recreation activities including fishing, swimming, boating, canoeing, and kayaking.

Invasive Species Council of BC

This program is in partnership with the Coastal Invasive Species Committee (Coastal ISC) and is asking the public to report sightings of knotweed. The program aims to verify all knotweed reports within the Comox Valley and to provide professionals to conduct treatments on select sites. To report infestations email or call 1-250-871-5117

Continuing with work first initiated in 2013, Cumberland will once again work to treat invasive knotweed infestations deemed to be the highest threat to Cumberland’s parks and sensitive ecological areas. Most of this work will involve retreating sites that have previously been treated as part of the program as full eradication of the plant may take multiple years.

Residents with knotweed growing on their properties are encouraged to check out Knot on My Property, or drop by the Village office to pick up a brochure. The resource has been developed specifically for homeowners dealing with the plant.

More information on knotweed can be found by checking out the Comox Valley Regional District Knotweed Fact Sheet or see below:

  • Knotweed Species are native to Asia and have spread throughout Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast.
  • Knotweed can push its way through concrete growing up to 4cm a day. Its extensive root system can damage foundations, driveways, and septic systems.
  • Knotweeds are listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s worst invasive species.
  • The rhizome (a root-like underground stem) may reach a depth of 3 metres (10 feet) and extend up to 7 metres (23 feet) away from the parent plant. Sections as small as a fingernail can grow into a new infestation.
  • Knotweed threatens biodiversity by reducing available habitat, outcompeting native species, and increasing soil erosion, especially near stream banks.
  • It is very difficult to manually remove knotweed once it is established. Cutting and mowing often make the problem worse because knotweed will vigorously resprout from the roots. This plant should never be composted.
  • The most effective way to control knotweed is with stem injections of the herbicide, glyphosate.
  • Glyphosate is deactivated by micro-organisms in soil, it doesn’t leach, and it possesses low toxicity to animals.
  • Glyphosate is a translocated herbicide, which means it stays within the plant and is carried down to the underground rhizome.
  • Given the threat and the boundless nature of invasive species, a regional approach to knotweed treatment is the most cost effective.
  • The Town of Comox, City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland and Comox Valley Regional District are partnering with the Coastal Invasive Species Committee to document knotweed infestations and provide professional treatment on priority sites.

Scotch Broom in Cumberland

The Village and Comox Valley Broombusters get together each spring to tackle areas of Scotch Broom infestation. Watch Village news in late April for May events.

No. 1 Town Broombust (9)

Volunteer broombust at No. 1 Japanese Town in Coal Creek Historic Park in 2014

Comox Valley Broombusters tells us to cut broom in bloom.

Cut at ground level, or below if possible, while broom is in bloom – in late April or May. The dought stressed plants will die in the summer’s heat.

The Scotch broom plant is most vulnerable when in bloom. If cut at the ground level, while in bloom, the plant usually dies. If cut during the wet season, it will respout. You have to cut all the way at the ground level, because there are often small – or large – sprouts that go off into the grass at ground level. Sometimes you have to move grass and give a tug on the stem to find the base of the plant. During the dry, hot summer, almost all larger plants die. The smaller ones may regrow, but they will be weakened, and you will be able to find them easily when they bloom next spring. If seeds sprout, pull them out by hand each year. If the established plant did not die by cutting, cut again – closer to the ground.

You do not need to remove the roots if cut before or in early heat; it will die in summer’s dry heat.

Plant grass, allow ground story plants to take over, and plant trees. Broom grows most frequently in disturbed soil. If you keep cutting in the spring, and encourage regrowth of native or cultivated plants, eventually the broom will give up. After the first year, it isn’t really hard, but it does require attentiveness. Just keep cutting the broom in bloom – and pulling out the new seedlings. Soon the native plants will thrive again.

Go after the light infestations first. You will be frustrated if you try to eliminate broom that is well established, as there are millions of seeds in the soil. Start at the outer edges of infestation and move towards the dense areas. You will be drawing a line and saying – the BROOM STOPS HERE. Eventually you’ll be able to get to the dense areas – and you CAN succeed.

Removing Broom with Seeds: After the seeds have formed on the broom, it is important NOT to move the branches because you don’t want to spread the seeds.
If you want to continue to cutting, or you are cutting in a place where you will not remove the branches, simply cut the broom and pile it on top of itself or in deep shade. Do not drag the broom branches after seed pods have formed, or you will spread the seed! On private property, when the rains return in the fall, you can burn the branches.

Do Not Pull Broom: Broom thrives in disturbed soil. A single broom plant can produce 18,000 seeds that are viable in the soil for 50 years! So if you disturb or destroy the ground cover, the seeds will germinate. Then you will have even more of a headache! Keep the ground cover, grass and trees. Replant as soon as possible. If broom is blooming near an uninfested area that is being disturbed, be sure to cut off all yellow flowers to keep seeds from entering the broom-free soil. This applies especially if you are cutting trees, clear cutting or tilling. Keep the seeds from reaching the disturbed soil if at all possible! Cut the bloomin’ broom!

Wet Season BROOM REMOVAL: When the ground is wet, you can pull broom from the ground without damaging the soil. Smaller broom plants can be pulled out by hand. Large ones can be removed by special broom removal tools.

Comox Valley Invasive Species Partnership

Since 2013, the Comox Valley Invasive Species Partnership – composed of the Comox Valley Regional District, City of Courtenay, Town of Comox and Village of Cumberland – have joined forces to combat the negative effects of invasive species on the Comox Valley community.

The partnership was formed based on a recommendation from local environmental NGOs and the recognition that invasive species issues know no borders and span administrative boundaries. The partners aim to work in collaboration by pooling resources and seeking the guidance and expertise of professionals from the Coastal Invasive Species Committee. To date, the partnership has implemented a knotweed eradication program as well as spearheading public outreach and communications initiatives.

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