By Katie Stannard
Invasive of the week-Aug 26-2020
Have you ever thought about weed removal as a strategy? Other than digging, swearing, consuming restorative beverages and repeating? A reader’s comment and our epic shared “weediest battle” post of August 12 inspired this back to basics story. 
Adaptive Weed Management–utilized at the state, regional, and local levels for managing natural areas–takes into account the site, uses, invasives present, and methods for control. The key here is also the term “management,” as many areas and invaders necessitate an ongoing, managed effort–not a one-and-done weeding session. We thought it would be useful to share the concepts of Adaptive Weed Management, rephrased here as a strategy for evaluating invasive weeds in home gardening environments:
What’s the overall goal for the landscape or area? A weed-free space or managed gardens; increased space for native plants, etc.
  • Identify species that threaten the goal. What are the invasive species? (This could even include well-liked but aggressive plants or native varieties spreading too eagerly.)
  • Learn about control techniques. Removal, mechanical, chemical, and biological controls, strategies.
  • Make and begin a plan.
  • Evaluate the impact of the plan. Is it working? What are the possible drawbacks or downsides?
  • Assess and amend the plan. Then go back to step 1 to review for the same site, or begin again for a different area.
The authors of this plan make clear that planning is integral to success: “Note that control activities are not begun until the first three steps have been taken. A weed control program is best viewed as part of an overall restoration program, so focus on what you want in place of the weed, rather than simply eliminating the weed. When selecting control methods, keep in mind that the ultimate purpose of the work is to preserve native species, communities, and/or functioning ecosystems.” (p. 3, source below).
Another helpful resource is the Midwest Invasive Plant Network’s Invasive Plant Control Database Useful for novices and professionals, users can search by invasive name to learn about researched control options based on skill, method, and experience level. 
Share your strategies for success! What weeding strategies have you used successfully in your garden spaces to reduce or eliminate invasive species? Please share your best practical tips and experiences in Facebook comments (@mbgna). 
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