Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #273878

Title: Planting native species to control site reinfestation by Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

item Skinner, Robert
item Van Der Grinten, Martin
item Gover, Art

Submitted to: Ecological Restoration
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2012
Publication Date: 9/1/2012
Citation: Skinner, R.H., Van Der Grinten, M., Gover, A.E. 2012. Planting native species to control site reinfestation by Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica). Ecological Restoration. 30:192-199.

Interpretive Summary: Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive weed that has become a serious problem along waterways, roads and railroad right-of-ways throughout the northeast and Pacific northwest. Controlling Japanese knotweed requires both effective ways to kill existing stands and suitable plant materials to replace Japanese knotweed and prevent re-invasion. We found that a two-year regime of chemical control combined with mowing was necessary to adequately suppress existing Japanese knotweed stands growing between a riverbank and farmer’s field in north central Pennsylvania. Six species mixtures were tested for their ability to replace and exclude Japanese knotweed. The most effective was a 27-species mixture containing species selected for their suitability for inclusion in riparian areas. A mixture containing prairie cordgrass and Virginia wildrye also showed promise. This research suggests that Japanese knotweed can be controlled with the proper selection of suppression techniques and replacement species.

Technical Abstract: Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. & Zucc.) (JKW) is a highly invasive species that has become a serious problem in riparian zones and along road and railroad right-of-ways. Once established, it forms solid colonies that usually choke out all other herbaceous vegetation, displacing native species, negatively affecting wildlife, and altering hydrological processes. We evaluated the ability of six native species mixtures to prevent re-colonization by JKW at a site receiving either one or two years of glyphosate applications and mowing to suppress existing JKW stands. One year of spraying and mowing was not sufficient to adequately suppress JKW. By 37 months after sowing only a multi-species riparian buffer mixture (RBM) had plant cover greater than 20%, whereas, cover for all other mixtures was less than 10%. Japanese knotweed had successfully re-invaded all plots with percent cover ranging from 72 to 96%. Two years of spraying and mowing reduced JKW percent cover to less than 15% for the first two years after sowing and to 28 to 43% by 37 months. Only two species mixtures adequately established when sown following two years of JKW suppression, the RBM and a mixture of Virginia wildrye (Elymus virginicus) and prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata). Percent cover for both mixtures was greater than 80% at 25 months after sowing and 50% or more after 37 months. Two years of JKW suppression was necessary before native species mixtures could successfully compete against JKW re-colonization.