• Jen Haynes

Seven Steps to Invasive Plant Management

Last week we talked about what an invasive plant is. This week we will talk about how to start the process of dealing with your invasive plants. There is no one size fits all when it comes to plants. You need what is called on integrated management approach which basically means that you combine several strategies to achieve long-term solutions. Not putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak. There is a seven-step approach that works very well. First you need to map the area. Figure out the size of the area that you want to work on. Second you need to figure out what plants you have, and which ones are invasive. Third you need to set your goals. Do you want to eradicate all invasive plants or control them? Eradication means they are all gone, and control means that they are still there but in lower numbers and you are stopping them from spreading. Forth you need to set your priorities. Which plants are the worst? How many are there? If you only have a small patch of hoary alyssum you will want to deal with that before you deal with a field full of knapweed. Fifth you select your strategy. Are you organic or conventional? Is there a biological control available? What is the most feasible? How much time and money do you want to spend? You want to set yourself up for success. If you decide to hand dig 5 acres of common tansy you will very quickly get overwhelmed and give up. Step six you develop your integrated management plan and execute it. That could include grass seeding, getting biological control insects, spraying parts of the area with herbicide, hand pulling small patches and tarping or mulching. The seventh step is very important. You need to monitor the area that you are treating. Invasive plants can take years to eradicate or control. You can’t just treat an area and expect that you are done. It takes time, diligence, perseverance, and patience. Preventing invasive plants from taking hold is so important. If you dig out that common bugloss when it first shows up, you won’t have to deal with a hillside full of it later. Many people we have talked to have a hard time believing us when we tell them how bad those few plants can become! In the coming weeks we will investigate what mechanical, biological and herbicide treatment is all about. For more information you can contact the Boundary Invasive Species Society at 250-446-2232, info@boundaryinvasives.com, Facebook and www.boundaryinvasives.com. For an in depth look at the seven steps check out https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/plants-animals-and-ecosystems/invasive-species/guidance-resources/7stepstomanagingyourweeds.pdf