The effectiveness of old and new strategies for the long-term control of Pteridium aquilinum, an 8-year test

Milligan, G. and Cox, E. S. and Alday, J. G. and Santana, V. M. and McAllister, H. A. and Pakeman, R. J. and Le Duc, M. G. and Marrs, R. H. (2016) The effectiveness of old and new strategies for the long-term control of Pteridium aquilinum, an 8-year test. Weed Research, 56 (3). pp. 247-257. ISSN 0043-1737

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Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/wr...

Abstract

There is a need for management strategies to control dominant perennial weeds and restore seminatural communities. We compared the effects of five weed control treatments on dense Pteridium aquilinum relative to an untreated experimental control over an 8‐year period with the aim of restoring acid grassland. The weed control treatments tested were as follows: cutting and bruising, both twice and thrice annually, and herbicide treatment (asulam in year 1 followed by annual spot retreatment of all emergent fronds). Pteridium aquilinum performance and plant species composition were monitored. Data were analysed using Bayesian mixed‐effect models and multivariate techniques. Cutting twice and thrice yearly and the asulam treatment all reduced frond density to zero; both bruising treatments were ineffective. The plant communities in the cut and asulam‐treated plots showed differences from the untreated and bruised plots; the asulam‐treated plots contained more ruderal species and the cut plots were more typical of acid grassland. Acid grassland recovery was fastest in the asulam‐treated plots, but the cut plots caught up after approximately 5 years. There were two important conclusions. First, an intractable weed like P. aquilinum can be eradicated and a vegetation more suited for grazing can be achieved by the continuous application of some treatments over many years. Here, success was achieved by cutting twice/thrice annually, or by a single asulam application followed by annual spot spraying of all emergent fronds for 8 years. Second, bruising, a treatment favoured by some conservation organisations, did not work and cannot be recommended. The use of long‐term, continuously applied treatments might be considered for all perennial weeds with large underground root/rhizome systems.

Item Type: Article
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Geography and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Gregg Milligan
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2019 10:44
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2019 10:44
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2788

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