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Control Mechanisms

Controlling invasive weeds

The most economical and safest way to manage invasive species is by prevention. Early detection and rapid response of invasive species is much more effective than trying to control a widespread infestation.

If eradication is not possible, the invasive species may be subject to control and management efforts. There are various methods used for the control/eradication/management of invasive species:

  • Biological control is the intentional manipulation of natural enemies by humans for the purpose of controlling pests reducing the population using prey targeting the invasive species. Includes the use of animals, fungi, or diseases typically from the targeted species home range to control invasive populations.
  • Chemical control includes the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides.
  • Cultural control includes manipulation of habits to increase mortality of invasives or reduce it's its rate of damage (selection of pest-resistant crops, winter cover crops, changing planting dates). Also includes measures aimed at changing human behavior to address the issue of spreading invasives -- using opportunities to educate people about practices to increase awareness to prevent the spread of invasives (signage, public awareness campaigns).
  • Mechanical control techniques include mowing, hoeing, tilling, girdling, chopping, and constructing barriers using tools or machines.
  • Physical (or manual) control includes activities such as hand-pulling, digging, flooding, mulching, manual destruction or removal of nests, egg masses, or other life stages; generally includes the destruction of invasive species by hand.
  • Prescribed burning includes the use of fire as a control technique.

You can also use a combination of control methods for an integrated approach using Integrated Pest Management (IPM).


Spotlights

  • Charitable Dollars Help In Fight Against Invasives In National Park System

    • Aug 25, 2021
    • National Parks Traveler.

    • National park philanthropy doesn't stop when it comes to trail and campground maintenance, science and research, or bringing inner-city youth to a park. Each year nearly $1.5 million from the National Park Foundation goes towards battling invasive species across the system.

  • National Integrated Pest Management Coordinating Committee (NIPMCC) Whitepapers

    • June 2021
    • Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center. IPM Insights (June 2021: Volume 18, Issue 1).

    • The National Integrated Pest Management Coordinating Committee (NIPMCC) has released a series of whitepapers explaining how pests threaten the security of the U.S. food supply, how an IPM approach offers the most effective means of managing pests, and why ongoing investment in IPM research and extension is critical to keeping pace with the ever-evolving nature of these threats. These new issue papers discuss role of IPM in combating resistance and invasive species, safeguarding food supply, and minimizing economic losses.

  • Biological "Green" Alternatives to Chemical Pesticides

    • Feb 11, 2020
    • USDA. ARS. Tellus.

    • ARS entomologist is developing microbial pesticides for the effective control of mosquitoes and the pathogens they transmit.

  • Use Natural Enemies to Manage Widespread Weeds in the Pacific [PDF | 4.34 MB]

    • 2020
    • Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

    • This guide explains how natural enemies (typically invertebrates and pathogens from the native home range of the pest) can be used to control serious invasive weeds in the Pacific. The use of natural enemies is the most cost-effective method of controlling widespread weeds in the Pacific. It is particularly important in the Pacific context where local capacity to manage such widespread problems is limited. For more knowledge resources, please visit the Pacific Battler Resource Base.

  • USDA Announces Update to National Road Map for Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

    • Oct 24, 2018
    • United States Department of Agriculture.

    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the first update since 2013 of the National Road Map for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (Sep 21, 2018; PDF | 340 KB). Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a science-based, sustainable decision-making process that uses information on pest biology, environmental data, and technology to manage pest damage in a way that minimizes both economic costs and risks to people, property, and the environment.

  • Biological Control: A Guide to Natural Enemies in North America

    • Cornell University. Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    • This guide provides photographs and descriptions of biological control (or biocontrol) agents of insect, disease, and weed pests in North America. It is also a tutorial on the concept and practice of biological control and integrated pest management (IPM). Whether you are an educator, a commercial grower, a student, a researcher, a land manager, or an extension or regulatory agent, we hope you will find this information useful.

  • Regional IPM Centers

    • National Information System for the Regional IPM Centers.

    • The four Regional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Centers serve as a hub for multi-state partnerships and communication networks, linking researchers, growers, extension educators, commodity organizations, environmental groups, pest control professionals, government agencies and others. The regions include: Northern IPM Center, Southern IPM Center, North Central IPM Center, and the Western IPM Center.

      Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to promote IPM, the Centers also coordinate, enhance, and facilitate the flow of resources and information in integrated pest management on a regional basis, including grants management, data acquisition and sharing, infrastructure development, and the documentation needed to provide accountability for resources used. Each regional center focuses on national efforts while maintaining the regional nature required for effective IPM programs.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this subject, organized by source.

Council or Task Force
  • Use of Fire as a Tool for Controlling Invasive Plants

    • 2006
    • California Invasive Plant Council.

    • The goal of this report is to capture the current state of knowledge on the use of fire as a tool to manage invasive plants in wildlands. By providing a more thorough source of information on this topic, we hope this review facilitates improved decision making when considering the use of prescribed burning for the management of invasive plants.

Partnership
  • Alaska Integrated Pest Management

    • University of Alaska - Fairbanks. Cooperative Extension Service.

    • The Alaska IPM program (AK IPM) addresses the public need for pest management education within the state.

  • Alaska Integrated Pest Management - Citizen Monitoring Portal

    • University of Alaska - Fairbanks. Cooperative Extension Service.

    • The Alaska Integrated Pest Management program wants to recruit YOU as a Citizen Scientist. Our goal is to educate individuals who enjoy observing the natural world and are curious about learning more about what they see. The more citizen scientists looking for insect, plant and disease organisms throughout our state, the better informed we are on current issues that may impact our environment, natural resources and food supply.

  • Aquatic Nuisance Species Control Methods

    • Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel.

    • Contains a compilation of known control methods for selected aquatic and wetland nuisance species.

  • Ask a Weed Management Question

    • USDA. ARS. Integrated Weed Management Resource Center.

    • The Integrated Weed Management (IWM) Resource Center is a place to find helpful, trustworthy resources on using integrated weed management for herbicide resistant weeds. Provides a clearinghouse of reliable educational resources necessary to integrate new weed management practices successfully, from trusted sources throughout the U.S.
      See also: Explore questions and answers

  • iBiocontrol

    • University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

  • Invasive Mussel Collaborative - Control Methods

    • DOI. U.S. Geological Survey; Great Lakes Commission; DOC. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

    • Invasive zebra and quagga mussels alter ecosystem dynamics and affect industrial, municipal, and recreational water users. The negative impacts of these dreissenid mussels drove scientists to search for effective control methods beginning in the early 1990s. Since then, researchers have uncovered various control methods, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Both chemical and physical treatments have been developed and used by state and federal agencies in the control of zebra mussels.

  • Invasive Plant Control Database

    • Midwest Invasive Plant Network.

    • Provides information on how to control many invasive plants common to the Midwestern U.S. Information was collected from both scientific literature and expert opinions and summarized by the Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN), in partnership with the Mark Renz lab from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Invasive Plant Management Guide - Control Information

    • University of Connecticut. Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group.

    • This guide is intended to assist with identification of invasive plants and provide information on controlling these problem plants. Included are both non-chemical means of control as well as information on proper use of herbicides where chemical controls are needed. The choice of control measure depends on the size and nature of the infestation. If dealt with early enough, invasive plant problems can often be eliminated by non-chemical methods. However, a herbicide-based approach may be required to control an infestation that has become well established or widespread.

  • Invasive.org - Invasive Species Management and Control Information

    • University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

  • Regional IPM Centers - NIFA Key Programmatic Contacts

    • National Information System for the Regional IPM Centers.

    • Provides a searchable database for various key contacts, coordinators and experts.

  • Take Action

    • United Soybean Board.

    • Take Action is a farmer-focused education platform designed to help farmers manage herbicide, fungicide and insect resistance. The goal is to encourage farmers to adopt management practices that lessen the impacts of resistant pests and preserve current and future crop protection technology.

  • Woody Invasive Species - Management and Control of Woody Invasive Species

    • Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes Collaborative.

    • The information provided through the WIGL Collaborative is intended to give landowners and managers an introduction to the practices that are most frequently used, either alone or in combination, to control woody invaders.

Federal Government
  • Invasive Species: Control Options and Issues for Congress [PDF | 495 KB]

    • Apr 30, 2015
    • Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.

    • There are two basic approaches to limiting the spread of invasive species: a species-by-species assessment of the risks or benefits of admitting or excluding species, and a policy based on controlling pathways of entry in which vigilance is maintained on incoming ballast tanks, cargo holds, packing materials, and similar vehicles for unwanted organisms. These two approaches may complement each other. Policymakers also may emphasize prevention over post hoc control or vice-versa, or they may adopt a combination of the two approaches. Congressional Research Service Report R44011.

  • Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the Eastern United States

    • Aug 2002
    • BugwoodWiki.

    • Published by: USDA. Forest Service. Publication FHTET-2002-04.

  • FHAAST Biological Control Program

    • USDA. FS. Forest Health Protection.

    • The FHAAST biological control program (FHAAST-BC) is part of the broader Forest Service's National Strategic Framework for Invasive Species Management as well as regional plans dealing with invasive species. The focus of the FHAAST-BC is to demonstrate a strong leadership role in the development and implementation of biological control technologies to manage wide spread infestations of invasive species and to use biological control as a viable component for integrated invasive pest management efforts.

  • NIFA Crop Protection and Pest Management Program (CPPM)

    • USDA. National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

    • The Crop Protection and Pest Management (CPPM) program addresses high priority issues related to pests (including insects, nematodes, pathogens, and weeds) and their management using IPM approaches at the state, regional and national levels. Scroll to view the section for "Related Funding Opportunities."

  • NIFA Integrated Pest Managemnt Program (IPM)

    • USDA. National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

    • NIFA partners with researchers and educators in the Land-Grant University System and the private sector to develop and implement new ways to address these complex pest management issues. NIFA provides funding to support extension IPM implementation and pesticide applicator safety programs in 50 states and six territories, the Minor Crop Pest Management Program (IR-4), four regional IPM centers, and numerous grants programs. Each of these investments contributes to the development of safe and effective IPM systems that increase farm profitability, reduce environmental and human health risks, and protect natural resources.

  • Areawide Pest Management

    • USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

    • Areawide Pest Management (AWPM) is the systematic reduction of a target pest(s) to predetermined levels using uniformly applied pest mitigation measures over geographical areas clearly defined by biologically-based criteria (e.g., pest colonization, dispersal potential). This storymap provides the following: Background, Current Projects, Success Stories, and Data Exploration. The program has six active projects on crops, insects, invasive plants, and agronomic weeds spread across the US. These updates provide a brief summary, current status and projections along with photos and graphs.

  • Biological Control Program

    • USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.

    • The goal of biological control activities within APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) is to safeguard America's agricultural production and natural areas from significant economic losses and negative impacts caused by insects, other arthropods, nematodes, weeds, and diseases of regulatory significance to the federal government, state departments of agriculture, tribal governments, and cooperators within the continental United States and on American territories through the use of biological control agents.

  • Dangerous Travelers: Controlling Invasive Plants Along America's Roadways

    • USDA. FS. Invasive Species Program.

    • Published by: USDA. FS. San Dimas Technology and Development Center; National Forest System Invasive Species Program, DOT, Federal Highway Administration; DOI, Fish and Wildlife Service. This video will help maintenance crews recognize and control noxious weeds along roadsides. Road crews that maintain any type road, from interstate highways to aggregate roads, are the frontline in preventing the spread of invasive plants.

  • Federal Integrated Pest Management

    • United States Department of Agriculture.

    • The Office of Pest Management Policy is responsible for communicating across federal agencies to promote the development of pest management strategies that reduce the economic, environmental, and public health risks from pests as well as from the methods used to control them in agricultural and natural resource environments.

  • Integrated Pest Management Virtual Training Series

    • DOI. NPS. Common Learning Portal.

    • Update for 2022 - the National Park Service (NPS)'s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program's Webinar series is now offering two webinars each month (an NPS-focused topic and a general topic). The webinar series is open to all DOI employees and partners.

      Throughout 2021, the NPS's IPM program, in collaboration with the NPS invasive species programs, embarked on an ambitious project to host weekly webinars. The presenters included NPS and other DOI agency employees, DOI contractors, USDA/USFS employees, and university professors. They presented on topics such as Invasive Species, Pesticide Safety, the Pesticide Use Proposal System (PUPS), and Museum Management.
      See also: Archived Integrated Pest Management webinars

  • Introduction to Integrated Pest Management

    • Environmental Protection Agency.

International Government
State and Local Government
  • Bureau of Environment - Invasive Species Best Management Practices

    • New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

    • To address mounting concerns over invasive plants and the role NHDOT activities play in the spread of these plants along roadsides, Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed with input from Maintenance Districts, the Roadside Development Section, the Bureau of Construction, and the NH Department of Agriculture. Implementation of these BMPs will help prevent the spread of invasive plants caused by maintenance and construction activities.

  • Invasive Species - Control Methods

    • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

  • Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management

    • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

    • The Department is required by the Pesticide Control Act of 1973, as amended in 1987, to educate all pesticide applicators about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) control methods as a part of license recertification requirements.

      In addition, Pennsylvania is a signatory party to the Chesapeake Bay resolution which encourages the promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to citizens as a method to reduce toxics in the Bay.

Academic
  • Chemical Weed Control for Field Crops, Pastures, Rangeland, and Noncropland [PDF | 2.6 MB]

  • Targeted Grazing: A Natural Approach to Vegetation Management and Landscape Enhancement

    • Dec 2006
    • University of Idaho. Rangeland Ecology and Management.

    • Prepared by: American Sheep Industry Association

  • Alabama Integrated Pest Management

    • Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

  • California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program

    • University of California. Agriculture and Natural Resources.

    • The University of California Statewide IPM Program (UC IPM) helps residents, growers, land managers, community leaders, and other professional pest managers prevent and solve pest problems with the least unintended impacts on people and their surroundings.

  • Colorado Integrated Pest Management

    • Colorado State University. College of Agricultural Sciences.

  • Connecticut Integrated Pest Management Program

    • University of Connecticut. College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources.

    • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a sustainable and scientific approach to managing pests. IPM practitioners base decisions on information that is collected systematically as they integrate economic, environmental and social goals. This approach applies to any situation, agricultural or urban, and is flexible enough to accommodate the changing demands of agriculture, commerce and society.

      The University of Connecticut IPM Program staff members work directly with and provide educational outreach to commercial growers, natural area managers, groundskeepers, educators and the general public in Connecticut. In addition, they conduct research and offer extension programs in these areas: Fruit, Greenhouse, Invasive Species, IPM Curriculum, Nursery, Turf & Landscape and Vegetables.

  • Eradication & Control Information Sheets

    • California Sea Grant.

    • These materials are provided for educational purposes only. They are intended to provide a general overview of what is required for implementing tactics to eradicate and control aquatic invasive species (AIS). Although prevention is the best approach, it also is important to be prepared and respond quickly to new infestations and to reduce risks posed by existing infestations.

  • Idaho Integrated Pest Management Center

    • University of Idaho. Extension.

    • The goal of the University of Idaho Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center is to provide educational information and resources for the pest management needs of Idaho. We strive to help the people of Idaho reduce risks to human health, the environment and the economy caused by pests and pest management practices.

  • Illinois Integrated Pest Management Program

    • University of Illinois. Extension.

    • The Illinois Integrated Pest Management Program areas of emphasis include Specialty Crops, School IPM, Pest Diagnostics and Area Wide Monitoring.

  • Iowa Integrated Pest Management

    • Iowa State University.

  • Kentucky Integrated Pest Management Programs

    • University of Kentucky. Entomology.

  • Massachusetts Integrated Pest Management Program

    • University of Massachusetts - Amherst. Extension.

    • The University of Massachusetts Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is a systems-oriented educational program that involves an interdisciplinary approach to ecosystem management, agricultural crop production and community pest management. This approach incorporates mechanisms for accurate estimation of both pest and beneficial insect populations, includes both economic and environmental cost and benefit assessments, and prescribes a combination of strategies for control of pest problems.

  • Michigan Integrated Pest Management Program

    • Michigan State University.

    • The IPM Program collaborates with faculty and Extension educators to develop diverse information serving growers of many crops, the landscape/turf “green” industry, and those looking for home and garden pest solutions.

  • Missouri Integrated Pest Management

    • University of Missouri-Columbia.

    • Integrated pest management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to managing insect, pathogen, and weed pests through a coordinated decision-making/action-taking process. The goal of IPM is to mitigate pest damage while protecting human health, environmental quality, and economic viability. The MU IPM program is partially funded by a federal grant. It is multidisciplinary and involves a large team of scientists and extension specialists.

  • Montana Integrated Pest Management

    • Montana State University. Extension Service.

    • Working to reduce health and environmental risks from pest management, as well as improve practices, and increase Integrated Pest Management (IPM) adoption. Our focus areas involve tactics and tools for plant protection, enhancing agricultural biosecurity, and IPM for sustainable communities.  The program encompasses four areas; agronomic crops, communities, pest diagnostic facilities, and pesticide education.  The overall goal of the Integrated Pest Management program is to develop and deliver information on IPM practices in Montana.

  • New Hampshire Integrated Pest Management

    • University of New Hampshire. Cooperative Extension.

  • North Carolina Integrated Pest Management Program

    • North Carolina State University. Extension.

  • Pacific Northwest Plant Disease Management Handbook

    • Oregon State University. Extension Service.

    • This handbook is intended as a ready reference guide to the control and management tactics for the more important plant diseases in the Pacific Northwest. The specific cultural, biological, and chemical recommendations are intended to manage a specific plant disease but may not always be appropriate under all production circumstances. The synthesis of a specific management recommendation should be done by a qualified individual. For this reason, this book should be used by—and has been expressly written for—county Extension agents, consultants, field and nursery people, and chemical industry representatives. Information in this publication is in a state of constant change.

  • Plant Management in Florida Waters

    • University of Florida. IFAS. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.

    • Comprehensive site why and how aquatic plants are managed in Florida waters. These five sections (why manage plants; overview of Florida waters, control methods, developing management plans, and research and outreach) will guide you through the many factors considered by Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission (FWC) biologists when developing aquatic plant management plans for Florida waters. Our priority is to manage invasive plants while also conserving and enhancing our unique aquatic habitats and wildlife communities.

  • South Carolina Integrated Pest Management Program

    • Clemson University. Cooperative Extension.

    • The mission of the Clemson University IPM program is to develop interdisciplinary, research based information, and provide it to the public in efficient and accessible formats. The goals of the IPM program are driven by the needs of stakeholders, who have an integral part in developing the priorities of the program.

  • U.S. Virgin islands Integrated Pest Management

    • University of the United States Virgin Islands. Cooperative Extension Service.

  • Washington Integrated Pest Management

    • Washington State University Extension.

    • The Washington State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Extension Implementation Program is a coordinated outreach effort by a team of Washington State University Extension Specialists to bring IPM knowledge to agricultural and urban pest managers across the state of Washington. Our ultimate goal is to increase adoption of IPM practices, toward a pest management paradigm that reduces human health risks, minimizes adverse environmental impacts, and maximizes economic returns and sustainability.

  • Wisconsin Integrated Pest and Crop Management

    • University of Wisconsin. Extension.

    • The University of Wisconsin Nutrient and Pest Management Program (NPM) and Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM)—work to bring research-based information regarding Wisconsin farm profits, water quality, pest management, pesticide use practices, and nutrient management planning to Wisconsin farmers and landowners.

Professional
  • Biology and Control of Aquatic Plants: A Best Management Practices Handbook

    • 2014
    • Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation.

    • This third edition has been specifically designed with water resource managers, water management associations, homeowners and customers and operators of aquatic plant management companies and districts in mind. The goal in preparing this handbook is to provide basic, scientifically sound information to assist decision makers with their water management questions.

  • Control of Invasive Species: A Synthesis of Highway Practice

    • 2006
    • National Academies. Transportation Research Board.

    • National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Synthesis 363). This synthesis reviews federal, state, and regional approaches; prevention, early detection, and rapid responses; identification of aspects of operations and risks; statewide inventories; and information management. In particular, this report synthesizes the state of the practice in developing Integrated (Roadside) Vegetation Management, along with physical, chemical, biological, and cultural control mechanisms.

  • IPM Institute of North America

    • IPM Institute of North America.

    • IPM Institute of North America is a non-profiit formed to focus on improving sustainability in agriculture and throughout communities.

  • NPIC Integrated Pest Management

    • Oregon State University. National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC).