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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: Biology and Biological Control of Mile-a-Minute Weed

Author
item Hough-goldstein, Judith - UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE
item Lake, Ellen
item Reardon, Richard - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)
item Wu, Yun - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)

Submitted to: Forest Service General Technical Reports
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/12/2015
Publication Date: 7/1/2015
Citation: Hough-Goldstein, J., Lake, E.C., Reardon, R., Wu, Y. 2015. Biology and Biological Control of Mile-a-Minute Weed. Forest Service General Technical Reports. FHTET-2008-10, 2nd edition, 1:75.

Interpretive Summary: Mile-a-minute weed (MAM), Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross (Fig. 1), is a member of the family Polygonaceae. It is an annual vine that can grow up to 6 meters long over the course of a season. Mile-a-minute weed’s native range includes much of east Asia (Wu et al. 2002). It was accidentally introduced to the United States in the mid-1930s from Japan, likely as a contaminant of a shipment of holly seeds. Mile-a-minute weed has since spread and is now established in twelve states from Massachusetts to North Carolina, and the District of Columbia (Poindexter 2010, EDDMapS 2015) and its range is still expanding. Mile-a-minute invades disturbed areas, such as roadsides, stream banks, rights of-way, openings in forested areas, and regeneration areas, and crowds out most native vegetation. At high densities it can outcompete all other vegetation and create monoculture, which reduces biodiversity. Seeds produced by MAM remain viable in the soil and can germinate up to six years later, necessitating a long-term management plan for control of this weed. Herbicides and hand-pulling plants can be effective management methods, but these are difficult to accomplish on a landscape with intermittent MAM populations. The biological control program for MAM began in 1996, when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team (FHTET), together with the University of Delaware and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, initiated surveys for natural enemies and host-range studies in China and the United States. In 2001, a colony of the weevil Rhinoncomimus latipes Korotyaev was established in the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) quarantine facility in Newark, Delaware, to study its biology and life cycle. Host-range studies were initiated with input from the Technical Advisory Group for Biological Control Agents of Weeds, which represents the interests of a diverse group of Federal and other agencies. A petition for release in the U.S. was submitted to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 2003, and approved in 2004. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture began mass rearing the weevil in 2004 and the first release was made in Delaware that same year. Subsequent releases have been made in ten additional states.

Technical Abstract: Mile-a-minute weed (MAM), Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross (Fig. 1), is a member of the family Polygonaceae. It is an annual vine that can grow up to 6 meters long over the course of a season. It is widely distributed throughout east Asia, including Japan, China, Korea, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Siberia, Philippines, Malay Peninsula, Indochina Peninsula, Nepal, and Turkey (Wu et al. 2002). It was introduced to the northeastern United States in the mid- 1930s from Japan, probably as seed unintentionally mixed in with holly seeds, and has since spread to thirteen states from New Hampshire to North Carolina, and the District of Columbia (Poindexter 2010, EDDMapS 2015, Fig. 2; note, MAM in New Hampshire has only been found near one nursery since 2011, and eradication efforts are continuing as of 2015; Douglas Cygan, personal communication). Mile-a-minute invades disturbed areas, such as roadsides, stream banks, rights of-way, openings in forested areas, and regeneration areas, and crowds out most native vegetation. At high densities it can create monocultures. In addition to the loss of native biodiversity, MAM is bothersome to people and their pets during outdoor activities because its stems and leaves are covered with recurved spines (Wu et al. 2002). The seed remains viable in the seed bank in the soil for six years, so managing MAM successfully depends on yearly treatments. Herbicides and hand-pulling plants can be effective management methods, but these are difficult to accomplish on a landscape with intermittent MAM populations. The biological control program for MAM began in 1996. That year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team (FHTET), together with the University of Delaware and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, initiated surveys for natural enemies and host-range studies in China and the United States. In 2001, a colony of the weevil Rhinoncomimus latipes Korotyaev (initially misidentified as Homorosoma chinensis Wagner) was established in the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) quarantine facility in Newark, Delaware, to study its biology and life cycle. Host-range studies were initiated with input from the Technical Advisory Group for Biological Control Agents of Weeds, which represents the interests of a diverse group of Federal and other agencies. A petition for release in the U.S. was submitted to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 2003, and approved in 2004. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture began mass rearing the weevil in 2004 and the first release was made in Delaware that same year. Subsequent releases have been made in New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Massachusetts, and North Carolina.