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
Top 100 Articles
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Farmer on tablet
CropLife 100Southern States Co-op: An Inside Look At Our Aerial Imagery Program
February 8, 2015
Now is as good a time as any to explore the basics of what a retail aerial imagery program looks like today. Read More
Latest News
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2015: Playing The Waiting Game
March 2, 2015
There was plenty of future-talk at this year’s event as companies (and growers) are largely in a holding pattern of sorts. Read More
Industry NewsHighway Equipment Appoints New Director Of Business Dev…
March 2, 2015
Cory Venable, who joined Highway Equipment Company (HECO) in 2013 as OEM Account Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. Read More
Prairieland FS employees
Eric SfiligojWorkforce Worries
March 2, 2015
Finding good employees almost always ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 problem for ag retailers in our annual CropLife 100 survey. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location I…
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad To Share Positive Message
Management2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad …
February 27, 2015
Jim Gray, executive director of the 2,4-D Research Task Force, lays out planned activities to mark the chemistry’s 70th anniversary. Read More
HerbicidesUniversity Of Arkansas Flag The Technology Program Adds…
February 27, 2015
Started in 2010, the Flag the Technology program provides a visual reference for applicators to distinguish between fields planted with different herbicide-tolerant trait technologies. Read More
Luckey Farmers, Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center
Industry NewsLuckey Farmers’ Berkey Branch Certified In 4R Nut…
February 26, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Luckey Farmers Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center in northwest Ohio has been added to its growing list of nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry F…
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
FertilizerNew Formulation Of NutriSphere-N Protects High Volume U…
February 24, 2015
Verdesian Life Sciences is launching NutriSphere-N HVTM, a new polymer formulation of the proven NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager that protects high-volume applications of UAN. Read More
EquipmentIowa Ag Secretary Northey Names Hagie Water Quality Lea…
February 24, 2015
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has named Hagie Mfg. as a recipient of the Secretary’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Leader Award. Read More
FungicidesEvito Fungicide Gives Canadian Wheat Growers New Diseas…
February 24, 2015
EVITO fungicide from Arysta LifeScience North America gives Canadian wheat and barley growers a new option for disease control. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Commodity Classic Turns 20
February 23, 2015
Two decades in, this annual gathering of all things agriculture has become a must-see event. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
CropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
February 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent trips to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Acquires FLM+ Assets
February 19, 2015
FLM+ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc., and the company will retain its employee base after closing of the deal, which is scheduled for the second quarter of the year. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnited Suppliers, Stine Seed Form Marketing Alliance
February 19, 2015
The new alliance will greatly expand sales opportunities for Stine Seed with the United Supplier Seed Link Owners. Read More