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.
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.
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.
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 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.).
back to top