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What is an Invasive Weed?
Where do they thrive?
Why should I care?
What can I do?
Dirty dozen invaders of the Southwest
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Glossary
FAQ

What Can I Do?

You can help manage invasive, noxious weeds. But pleasekeep in mind that many invasive plants have spines and/or toxic or irritating substances. Whether controlling weeds manually by hand pulling, or by applying herbicides, be sure to take appropriate precautions by wearing the appropriate protective clothing (gloves, boots, safety glasses, etc.). Before using herbicides, always read the label and follow instructions!

The key to an effective invasive plant management is to integrate all the available options for the particular plant species, site, and situation. Taking time to write down your plan and to evaluate the results will allow for the development of a long-term management program. A weed management program for should focus on four strategies: prevention, early detection, timely management, and site rehabilitation.

Prevention:

Keeping weeds from becoming established should have the highest priority in management programs. The saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" certainly holds true here. Prevention measures might include using weed free hay for feeding pack animals, minimizing soil disturbance from agricultural and recreational activities, and refraining from picking or purchasing invasive plants that have "pretty" flowers.

Early Detection:

It is important to recognize invasive plants before they become established. In order to do this, it is important to be able to identify invasive plants in the seedling or immature stage in addition to the flowering or mature stage. Once a plant has set seed or become established, the amount of effort to manage the plant increases. Known infestations must be contained and prevented from spreading to uninfested areas. If you find a weed that appears to be invasive, some states have a reporting form (see Arizona's Noxious Weed Reporting Form) you can use to send in a sample of the plant, have it identified, and to see if further action is warranted.

Timely Management:

When developing a management plan, emphasis must be placed on timely action. Rapid response to an invasive plant problem reduces the amount of time and energy required to keep populations in check. Management options will vary with each weed species. For example, annual and biennial weeds can sometimes be managed with timely cultivation (i.e., before seed set). Herbicides registered for invasive plants have also proven effective in certain situations.

Site Rehabilitation:

Site rehabilitation generally means helping desirable plants to become more competitive after an initial management effort has been implemented to reduce or eliminate an invasive plant. Initial efforts to manage invasive plants prior to rehabilitation efforts may include the use of cultivation, herbicides, and/or biological techniques (check with the Department of Agriculture before using biological control techniques). If nothing is done to rehabilitate or enhance the infested site once invasive weeds are removed, another undesirable species can take the place of the weed that was removed. Site rehabilitation may entail reseeding an area, or it may simply involve enhancing the competitive ability of the desirable plants that are still viable on the site. An important part of rehabilitation involves considering the inherent production potential of the site itself (soils, precipitation levels, and topography, etc.).

 

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