Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT & EVALUATION OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS FOR INVASIVE SPECIES THREATENING THE EVERGLADES & OTHER NATURAL AND MANANGED SYSTEMS

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Title: Integrating Biological Control and Native Plantings to Restore Sites Invaded by Mile-A-Minute Weed, Persicaria perfoliata, in the Mid-Atlantic USA

Authors
item Lake, Ellen
item Cutting, Kiri -
item Hough-Goldstein, Judith -

Submitted to: International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2012
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Citation: Lake, E.C., Cutting, K., Hough-Goldstein, J. 2013. Integrating Biological Control and Native Plantings to Restore Sites Invaded by Mile-A-Minute Weed, Persicaria perfoliata, in the Mid-Atlantic USA. International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds. /254-261.

Interpretive Summary: Successful biological control programs can reduce the competitive ability and population density and/or distribution of the target weed. However, if the target weed is replaced by another invasive weed, “the invasive treadmill effect,” the biodiversity of the site will not improve. Mile-a-minute weed, Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross, is an annual vine from Asia that has invaded natural areas in the eastern U.S. The host-specific weevil Rhinoncomimus latipes Korotyaev was approved for release in 2004, and is showing considerable success. However, in some sites the suppressed mile-a-minute weed has been replaced by other invasive species, such as Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus. Two integrated weed management experiments were conducted to determine best practices for breaking the invasive treadmill cycle and restoring native plant communities at sites invaded by mile-a-minute weed. In the first experiment, sites received a combination of the biological control weevil, plantings of competitive native vegetation, and a pre-emergent herbicide application. Integrating these treatments decreased mile-a-minute seedling numbers and prevented Japanese stiltgrass from becoming the dominant vegetation at sites where this weed was abundant. The sites with the greatest pressure from invasive species had a higher percentage of native cover when herbicide and planting treatments were combined compared to the control. In the second experiment, sites were seeded with a mix of native warm and cool season grasses and forbs, with and without weevils, which were excluded using a systemic insecticide. Mile-a-minute weed cover was reduced and native plant richness was higher in the treatment with both restoration seeding and biocontrol than for either treatment alone. The results of these experiments suggest that integration of control methods can suppress mile-a-minute weed and help restore a diverse native plant community.

Technical Abstract: Successful biological control can significantly reduce the competitive ability and population density and/or distribution of an invasive weed. However, in some cases the target weed is replaced by other nonnative weeds. If this “invasive treadmill effect” occurs, the biodiversity of the site will not improve. Mile-a-minute weed, Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross, is an annual vine from Asia that has invaded natural areas in the eastern U.S. The host-specific weevil Rhinoncomimus latipes Korotyaev was approved for release in 2004, and is showing considerable success. However, in some sites the suppressed mile-a-minute weed has been replaced by other invasive species, such as Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus. Two integrated weed management experiments were conducted to determine best practices for breaking the invasive treadmill cycle and restoring native plant communities at sites invaded by mile-a-minute weed. In one experiment, sites received a combination of the biological control weevil, plantings of competitive native vegetation, and a pre-emergent herbicide application. Native plantings consisted of plugs of flat-top goldentop, Euthamia graminifolia (L.) Nutt., and seedlings of Dutch elm disease tolerant American elm, Ulmus americana L. Integrating these treatments decreased mile-a-minute seedling numbers and prevented Japanese stiltgrass from becoming the dominant vegetation at sites where this weed was abundant. The sites with the greatest pressure from invasive species had a higher percentage of native cover when herbicide and planting treatments were combined compared to the control. In the second experiment, sites were seeded with a mix of native warm and cool season grasses and forbs, with and without weevils, which were excluded using a systemic insecticide. This fully factorial experiment showed reduced mile-a-minute weed cover and greater native plant richness in the treatment with both restoration seeding and biocontrol than for either treatment alone. The results of these experiments suggest that integration of control methods can suppress mile-a-minute weed and help restore a diverse native plant community.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page