WSSA Scientists Stress Early Response To Invasive Weeds

Over the past decade, dozens of “early detection, rapid response” initiatives have been launched by states to keep invasive species from devastating natural habitats and damaging our economy. Many of these programs use mobile apps and online databases to revolutionize how we collect data on harmful invaders – making it easier to map infestations and to share information broadly.

But scientists with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) say one part of the equation is missing: We often fail to take prompt, effective action based on what we learn, despite the advantages of early intervention. Studies show that small, newly established invasive weed populations can expand at rates of up to 60% per year. As the size of the infestation increases, the cost of control soars while the probability of successful management plummets.

“Early detection creates opportunities for us to make smart decisions and eradicate new invasive weeds before they spread widely and become entrenched,” says John Jachetta, Ph.D., chair of the Indiana Invasive Species Council and a member of the WSSA Science Policy Committee. “In those early stages, control efforts are typically easier, more successful and far more cost effective.”

Unfortunately there are many examples of a known infestation unfolding without early intervention. One of those involves common crupina (Crupina vulgaris), a noxious weed in the sunflower family that can ruin valuable pastures and prairies.

A native of Europe, common crupina was first discovered in the U.S. in Idaho in 1969. But there were no concerted efforts to destroy that small initial infestation. A decade later, the weed covered many thousands of acres and had earned a Federal Noxious Weed designation. Only then did research get underway to explore the possibility of eradicating the plant.

It took years, though, to complete a study, and years more to convene a task force to review the study results. By then common crupina had spread well beyond Idaho into other neighboring states – making true eradication a very costly, time consuming and unlikely proposition.

There are also examples, though, of a more effective approach. Some states and municipalities have launched action-oriented “early detection, rapid response” programs that are producing impressive results.

In California, early detection and early response prevented a potential environmental disaster triggered by “killer algae” (Caulerpa taxifolia). A native of Europe, killer algae is a prolific producer of a chemical that is toxic to fish and other organisms. It also is easily spread since small pieces of the plant can break free and grow into new colonies. Once the algae is well established, eradication is almost impossible.

In 2000, a small infestation of killer algae was discovered in a lagoon in San Diego County. Soon after, a second infestation was discovered in a nearby harbor in Orange County. Knowing the potential damage killer algae represented to fishing and recreation, multiple agencies at the local, state and federal level sprang into action and coordinated a response.

Black plastic tarps and chlorine were used to kill the algae at both sites. In addition, recreational divers were trained to spot the weed and to sound an early alarm if there were new outbreaks. As a result, what could have become a very costly problem appears to have been quickly and successfully resolved.

“We’ve long understood the value of an early response to diseases impacting human health,” Jachetta said. “It’s time to bring that same sense of urgency to our natural environment and to take prompt, effective action to stop harmful invasive weeds.”

Early Detection, Ready Response: Seven Critical Steps

An effective program for “early detection, rapid response” will incorporate these seven important steps:

  1. Identify: Both scientists and lay people are taught to identify problem plants.
  2. Report: Online tools make it easy to submit information on a sighting.
  3. Verify: Scientists validate reports of suspected invasive species.
  4. Review: Data is used to keep tabs on the geography of an infestation – where the invasive weed has been spotted and how quickly it is spreading.
  5. Assess: Experts evaluate the risk of the infestation to natural ecosystems, crops and the economy.
  6. Establish a plan: An integrated plan is developed for managing the infestation.
  7. Rapidly respond: The plan is quickly implemented and there is ongoing monitoring to gauge the effectiveness of control efforts.

Leave a Reply

Herbicides Stories

HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
HerbicidesArysta Touts Burndown Herbicide For Brome Management In Wheat
June 4, 2014
Arysta LifeScience North America recommends PRE-PARE Burndown Herbicide for effective brome management in winter wheat. Read More
HerbicidesFall Herbicide Applications More Effectively Manage Resistant Italian Ryegrass
May 14, 2014
Field studies show that a fall application of certain herbicides before weed emergence, leads to more successful crop planting and weed control in spring. Read More
Waterhemp in soybean stubble
HerbicidesThe Weed Resistance Problem: A Matter Of Billions
April 1, 2014
Not only is the amount of money being spent to control these yield robbers high, but the toll it has taken on the human population is growing lager by the day. Read More

Trending Articles

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More

Latest News

FertilizerFertilizer Outlook And Technology Conference Set For No…
September 30, 2014
Conference participants can expect to gain perspective on the outlook for agriculture and major fertilizer materials and inputs from industry experts. Read More
MicronutrientsVerdesian Acquires Micronutrient Supplier
September 30, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has acquired QC Corp., a producer and supplier of granular and dry micronutrients and ferrous sulfate products. Read More
Eric SfiligojHearing From Young Ag Voices
September 30, 2014
Potential future leaders in ag retail had the chance to shine at the recent Mid America CropLife Association meeting. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
September 30, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Appoints New Chief Operating Officer
September 29, 2014
Jon Parr will succeed retiring COO John Atkin at the end of the year. Read More
CropLife 100South Dakota Wheat Growers To Add Grain-Agronomy Facili…
September 26, 2014
Planned to be constructed in Kennebec, the facility will be located along the soon-to-be rehabilitated line of heavy-rail service from Chamberlain to Presho. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Vice President Appointments
September 25, 2014
Two individuals have been appointed Vice President positions on the GROWMARK executive team. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Industry Organizations Join Global Alliance …
September 25, 2014
The Fertilizer Institute, the International Plant Nutrition Institute and the International Fertilizer Industry Association are encouraging the industry to promote the proper use of fertilizer products to minimize their environmental impact. Read More
Precision AgARA Organized Precision Forum Hits Capitol Hill
September 24, 2014
The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted its inaugural Precision Ag Forum, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. Read More
FertilizerFactors To Consider When Placing Fertilizer With Seed
September 24, 2014
The type of crop, fertilizer source, row spacing and soil environment all affect how much fertilizer can be safely applied with seed. Read More
FertilizerSidedressing Manure Into Corn Has Promising Results
September 24, 2014
Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses and give livestock producers another window of time to apply manure to farm fields. Read More
FertilizerWhen To Sample Manure For Analysis
September 24, 2014
Because the goal is to collect a sample that represents the manure actually being applied, the best time to sample is during loading or field application. Here's why. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Faces Second Lawsuit Over Agrisure Viptera Cor…
September 23, 2014
A second company has sued Syngenta AG over sales of genetically modified corn seed not approved by China. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Field Guide For Farmers Expanded
September 23, 2014
Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. Read More
HerbicidesArysta LifeScience Launches Contest For Wheat Growers
September 23, 2014
The Flush after Flush Photo Finish contest encourages farmers across the U.S. to participate through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FlushAfterFlush. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Confirms Merger Of Equals Discussions Wit…
September 23, 2014
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with Yara International regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
StewardshipProgram To Examine Ag-Related Practices, Policies To Pr…
September 22, 2014
A panel discussion on October 14 will include a significant discussion on key issues and solutions related to all aspects of harmful algal blooms. Read More
Eric SfiligojIt’s Product Of The Year Voting Season
September 22, 2014
Readers of CropLife IRON will choose 2014’s best new product over the next month. Read More