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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Integrating Mechanical and Biological Control Methods to Suppress Melaleuca Quinquenervia

Authors
item Wiggers, Scott - SCA
item Pratt, Paul
item Tonkel, Kirk - WA STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Florida Weed Science Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2004
Publication Date: February 24, 2004
Citation: Wiggers, S., Pratt, P.D., Tonkel, K. 2004. Integrating mechanical and biological control methods to suppress melaleuca quinquenervia. Florida Weed Science Society Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: Integrated pest management programs have been widely acknowledged as the most effective and sustainable method of controlling invasive species. However, a persistent problem facing many land managers is how to integrate biologically based control methods into their conventional pest management practices. Herein, we describe the use and efficacy of integrating biological and mechanical control tactics for the suppression of Melaleuca quinquenervia (melaleuca), an invasive tree of south Florida. We investigated the ability of two biological control insects to suppress regrowth from melaleuca cut stumps in a field experiment. The aims of the study were to 1) quantify the regenerative potential of cut stumps, 2) assess the influence of herbivory by Oxyops vitiosa and Boreioglycaspis melaleucae on this regenerative capacity, 3) determine the impact of pruning on stump regrowth, and 4) assess the interaction among pruning and herbivory treatments. We applied pruning and herbivory treatments in a fully factorial design to 40 M. quinquenervia stumps at a field site near Estero, Florida. Our results indicate that the biocontrol agents significantly suppress M. quinquenervia regrowth by decreasing biomass, number of new stems, and stem length. To date, periodically pruned stumps have experienced greater levels of mortality (30%) as compared to unpruned stumps (5%). Integrating biological control agents with mechanical harvesting may be a satisfactory alternative to herbicides for suppression of melaleuca regrowth from stumps, although several factors, including local site conditions and site history, should be considered in this decision.

Technical Abstract: Integrated pest management programs have been widely acknowledged as the most effective and sustainable method of controlling invasive species. However, a persistent problem facing many land managers is how to integrate biologically based control methods into their conventional pest management practices. Herein, we describe the use and efficacy of integrating biological and mechanical control tactics for the suppression of Melaleuca quinquenervia (melaleuca), an invasive tree of south Florida. We investigated the ability of two biological control insects to suppress regrowth from melaleuca cut stumps in a field experiment. The aims of the study were to 1) quantify the regenerative potential of cut stumps, 2) assess the influence of herbivory by Oxyops vitiosa and Boreioglycaspis melaleucae on this regenerative capacity, 3) determine the impact of pruning on stump regrowth, and 4) assess the interaction among pruning and herbivory treatments. We applied pruning and herbivory treatments in a fully factorial design to 40 M. quinquenervia stumps at a field site near Estero, Florida. Our results indicate that the biocontrol agents significantly suppress M. quinquenervia regrowth by decreasing biomass, number of new stems, and stem length. To date, periodically pruned stumps have experienced greater levels of mortality (30%) as compared to unpruned stumps (5%). Integrating biological control agents with mechanical harvesting may be a satisfactory alternative to herbicides for suppression of melaleuca regrowth from stumps, although several factors, including local site conditions and site history, should be considered in this decision.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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