The University of Arizona

Saltcedar recovery after herbicide-burn and mechanical clearing practices.

K.C. McDaniel, J.P. Taylor


Mechanical clearing and herbicide-burn treatments were compared to evaluate saltcedar (Tamarix chinensis Lour.) control and recovery along the Rio Grande on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro, N.M. The herbicide-burn treatment included an aerial application of imazapyr (+)-2-[4,5-dihydro-4-methyl-4-(1-methylethyl)-5-oxo-1H-imidazol-2-yl]-3-pyridinecarboxylic acid] + glyphosate [N-(phosphono-methyl)glycine] (0.6 + 0.6 kg ai ha-1 rate) followed 3 years later by a prescription broadcast fire that eliminated > 99% of the standing dead stems. Six years after initial herbicide application, saltcedar mortality was 93%. Mechanical saltcedar clearing entailed removing aerial (trunks and stems) growth by blading, stacking and burning debris, followed by removal of underground plant portions (root crowns) by plowing, raking, and burning stacked material. Saltcedar mortality 3 years after mechanical clearing averaged 70%, which was deemed unsatisfactory. Thus, root plowing, raking, and pile burning was repeated. Three years later, after the second mechanical clearing, saltcedar mortality was 97%. Costs for the herbicide-burn treatment averaged $283 ha-1, whereas mechanical control costs were $884 ha-1 for the first surface and root clearing and an additional $585 ha-1 for the second root clearing. Riparian managers should consider environmental conditions and restoration strategies prior to selecting a saltcedar control approach. Although control costs were significantly lower for the herbicide-burn treatment compared to mechanical clearing in this study, the choice of methods should always consider alternative control strategies for saltcedar. Frequently, combinations of methods result in more efficient, cost-effective results.



plowing;root plowing;Tamarix chinensis;imazapyr;cost effectiveness;plant volume;brush cutting;volume;glyphosate;stems;height;riparian areas;brush control;mortality;cutting;prescribed burning;land restoration;plant density;invasive species;canopy;New Mexico;plant height

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