Working together to strengthen and support noxious weed management efforts in Montana.

Why Should You Care?

Invasive weeds are the greatest threat to Montana’s environment. When these invaders are allowed to invade and spread, they cause a reduction in wildlife forage, degrade fisheries through erosion and sediment buildup, reduce property values, and erode our beautiful viewsheds in Montana. Currently, Montana has approximately 7.6 million precious acres infested with state-listed noxious weeds, and several new and potentially devastating invaders knocking on the door at our borders.

From the Director’s Desk

IWM spray

There is no silver bullet for weed management. Integrated Weed Management (IWM) is the control of weeds through a long-term management approach, using several weed management techniques such as physical control, chemical control, biological control or cultural control. There are still many out there who believe that spraying herbicides is the only answer, but that is simply not true. Herbicides can and are a very effective tool for weed management, but the reality is that some plants are developing herbicide resistance and once you have sprayed the weed, you very well better have another important IWM tool ready to go: re-vegetation. Biocontrol often appeals to many because there are no chemicals involved, however, you have to have the right situation for insect releases and you likely need to have a considerable infestation of invasives for biocontrol to be effective. Using biocontrol in conjunction with herbicide (for instance releasing bugs into the infested acres and then using herbicide around the perimeter to contain spread if the bugs can’t keep up with new growth) can be very effective. Another important component of IWM is education and awareness. You really can’t have a successful spray program until you know what you have or what to be looking for.IWM bugs It pays to study those plants you want to put into your garden or landscape to make sure they don’t have the potential for easy spread or that they are noxious in another state (a red flag). Using grazing as an IWM technique can also be effective on certain plants and if the animals are maintained properly; however, once the animals are gone, usually the plants come back. Those of us who garden are very familiar with tilling and cultivation to control weeds. This is another important and effective IWM practice, but it is time consuming and can be back breaking (in the case of trying to keep your garden weed free). Integrated Weed Management is exactly what it means – an integrated approach. Combine IWM practices and you’ll find that often times, using a combination of any two or three techniques is most effective. No one IWM technique is a silver bullet for noxious weed control. The only silver bullet I know of is an ad campaign for a certain beer!

Becky Kington
MWCA Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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