Integrated Plant Management is the concept of using a well-planned, organized, and multifaceted approach to control noxious weeds. An integrated approach uses multiple control techniques to gain a synergistic impact on targeted species – with better results than the use of any single control technique.
For example, an IPM program for Dalmatian toadflax may consist of several management strategies throughout the growing season to achieve the most effective control instead of using any one control method. Below are steps throughout the growing season that could be followed in a one-year Dalmatian toadflax IPM strategy.
- Fall: Spot or broadcast spray plants/rosettes, seed area with competitive native grass seed that has been certified weed free. Chemical and Cultural
- Early Spring: Spot spray (or selectively broadcast) toadflax rosettes with a selected herbicide; consider a controlled burn to destroy remnant vegetation and seeds on the soil surface (if permitted in your area).Chemical and Cultural
- Summer: Mow patches prior to seed development; release biological control agents. Educate your neighbors on how you are treating your infestation. Physical, Biological, and Cultural.
- Fall: Spot spray remaining toadflax plants or rosettes. Chemical
Physical control is the use of physical or mechanical methods to control weed infestations. Physical control can be; mowing, chopping, pulling, cutting, burning, tilling, as well as utilizing physical barriers. Remember to identify what weeds are to be controlled because some physical control methods can actually increase infestations. An example of physical control is utilizing a shovel to remove a noxious weed with a simple tap root which can be achieved by removing the crown of the plant and a majority of the root.
Chemical control is the use of herbicides to control weeds. This is often the most effective control technique and if used correctly can greatly reduce infestations. When applying any herbicide remember to read and follow all labeling. An example of chemical control can be using a selective herbicide to remove targeted broad leaf weed species while keeping desirable grass communities intact.
Biological control is the use of introduced competition or predation. Often introduced noxious weeds are problems because they have been removed from their natural enemies. Biological control includes introducing insects, predators, and pathogens to control weeds as well as targeted grazing. An example of biological control is the release of Mecinus janthinus better known as the Toadflax Stem-mining weevil, to control large populations of Dalmatian toadflax in difficult to access areas.
Cultural control is identified as modifying behaviors to prevent noxious weeds from being introduced and includes; education, prevention, early detection of new invasions, modifying grazing habits, replanting disturbed or previously infested areas with native or desirable species, and monitoring successes and failures. An example of a cultural control technique would be utilizing certified weed free forage in a livestock production operation.
Other control methods laser beams from satellites, trained ninjas, genetic mutant native species, the evil eye, HBT, etc… (Most control methods will fall into one of the four categories)
Importance of re-vegetation and restoration: is a vital portion of most Integrated Weed Management Plans. By establishing resilient and resistant plant communities, the need for control of noxious weeds is reduced by the competition for resources which is provided by desirable species that are established on previously invaded sites.