Pest & Weed Management

Mountain pine beetles pose a significant threat to Alberta’s pine forests. Once attacked, healthy pine trees can die within one year.

Albertans play an important role in managing the mountain pine beetle infestation in the province.  Albertans should monitor pine trees on their property and remove any mountain pine beetle infested pine trees.

Early detection and control is critical in managing infestations and preventing further spread.

Typically, the Town of Whitecourt undertakes an annual Mountain Pine Beetle Control Program. The program involves assessing areas thoughout the community for infected trees, and performing control activities.  Below map details pine stand locations within Whitecourt.

For more information visit the Alberta Agriculture & Forestry website.

Mountain Pine Beetle - What are the signs?

  • Fine sawdust at the base of the tree and in the bark crevices;
  • Increased woodpecker activitiy (holes in trees, flaked off bark);
  • Grayish-blue wood.

For more information on mountain pine beetle, please read through our information brochure.

Mountain Pine Beetle Residential Inspections

As part of the Mountain Pine Beetle Management Program, we are asking residents to contact the Town of Whitecourt if you suspect you have a Mountain Pine Beetle infested tree on your property.

Residents have until May 13, 2022, to contact the office and arrange a site visit.  Please contact administration@whitecourt.ca to schedule a visit by staff.

A registered forestry professional will visit your property to inspect the tree(s), and if necessary perform control work at no cost to the property owner.

Mountain Pine Beetle – What are the signs?

  • Fine sawdust at the base of the tree and in bark crevices;
  • Increased woodpecker activity (holes in trees, flaked off bark);
  • Grayish-blue wood.

You play an important role in managing Mountain Pine Beetle in Alberta.

Releaf Program available for trees lost to Mountain Pine Beetle

Tree Canada's Alberta Mountain Pine Beetle Releaf Program is aimed at replacing trees lost to mountain pine beetle.  To apply for funding visit www.treecanada.ca or call 1-877-390-TREE (8733).

  • Residents who had individual tree(s) killed by mountain pine beetle may apply for a rebate of up to $500 off the estimated cost of a landscaped tree.  The online application and 1-2 photos of the mountain pine beetle damage can be sent to a Tree Canada Community Advisor for review and approval.  

Do you have questions about mountain pine beetle? Contact the Town of Whitecourt at 780-778-2273.

The Town of Whitecourt is working to control Black Knot within the Town’s parks, boulevards, and public spaces.  Black Knot is highly infectious, and we appreciate the cooperation and support of commercial and residential property owners in helping control its spread.

What is Black Knot?

Black Knot is recognized by clumpy-looking, black masses of abnormal growths on the branches of trees.  This fungal condition infects only Prunus species of plants (i.e. Mayday, Cherry and Plum trees).  These trees are found in yards, boulevards, and parks throughout Whitecourt.

This disease reduces the look of the tree, as infections spread rapidly, and ultimately leads to eventual death of the plant. 

Black Knot is highly infectious and spores can be carried by wind and rain, as well as wildlife.  Removing infected branches/trees will help to control the spread of Black Knot within your property, your neighbour’s property, and the community.

How to Control Black Knot:

Prune out all knot-bearing branches during late fall/winter, or early spring when plants are dormant and knots are easy to see.

  • Remove infected branches to at least 15-20 centimetres (6-8 inches) below knot.  NOTE:  It is preferable to prune an infected branch further back to an appropriate location, such as a healthy collar, rather than leave a stub.

  • As a precaution, cutting blades should be cleaned and disinfected after each pruning cut, if possible, especially if cuts have been made through obviously infected material.

  • For knots on scaffold branches or trunks that can’t be removed, cut away diseased tissue down to good wood and at least 1 centimetre (1/2 inch) beyond the edge of the knot.

  • Failure to remove branches beyond the internal growth will result in re-growth of the fungus.

  • DISEASED WOOD MUST BE DESTROYED IMMEDIATELY (burned, buried, or removed from site and disposed of at the landfill). Diseased knots can produce and release spores for up to 4 months after removal.

  • When disposing of infected wood at the Whitecourt Regional Landfill, please inform staff upon entry so that you can be directed to the proper disposal area.

  • Consider hiring a trained professional for pruning activities.

Do you have questions about black knot? Contact the Town of Whitecourt at 780-778-2273.

Please note that local bylaw enforcement does not have the responsibility or authority to control wildlife, such as skunks. If you have concerns regarding live animals, you’re encouraged to a pest control company for trapping/removal.

Skunks are no cause for alarm and play an important role in the eco-system. In the fall, skunks are busy eating and building up fat reserves for winter dormancy. They eat a lot of grubs and other harmful insects, fallen fruit, and garbage. Aside from the smell if agitated, skunks are a relatively harmless. That being said, they can be a nuisance, especially for dog owners.

Here are some tips to help prevent skunks from moving into your property

  • Keep pet food or water inside overnight.
  • Keep garbage/organics bins tightly closed.
  • Clean and tidy yards.
  • Remove items such as trash, loose lumber piles, and old vehicles where skunks could use for shelter.
  • Fully seal off all openings around and under buildings and mobile homes.
  • Use chicken wire around the bottom of decks or on the ground to prevent burrowing.
  • Bright lights or mothballs may cause a skunk to leave from under steps or a building.

Alberta Environment and Parks has some great information on skunks.

In order to maintain the enjoyment and safety of users at Rotary Park, and to lessen the impact geese have on the park environment, the Town of Whitecourt will be employing goose deterrent activities throughout the spring season annually. The initiatives will be undertaken in partnership with a Wildlife Control Officer and will utilize a variety of techniques, including strobe lighting, distress signals, decoys, and canine patrols.