Can Land Managers Control Japanese Knotweed? Lessons from Control Tests in Belgium

Abstract

Japanese knotweed Fallopia japonica is an extremely abundant invasive plant in Belgium and surrounding countries. To date, no eradication method is available for land managers facing the invasion of this rhizomatous plant. We tested different chemical herbicides with two application methods (spraying and stem injection), as well as mechanical treatments, on knotweed clones throughout southern Belgium. The tested control methods were selected to be potentially usable by managers, e.g., using legally accepted rates for herbicides. Stem volume, height and density reduction were assessed after one or two years, depending on the control method. Labor estimations were made for each control method. No tested control method completely eradicated the clones. Stem injection with glyphosate-based herbicide (3.6 kg ha−1 of acid equivalent glyphosate) caused the most damage, i.e., no sprouting shoots were observed the year following the injection. The following year, though, stunted shoots appeared. Among the mechanical control methods, repeated cuts combined with native tree transplanting most appreciably reduced knotweed development. The most efficient methods we tested could curb knotweed invasion, but are not likely to be effective in eradicating the species. As such, they should be included in a more integrated restoration strategy, together with prevention and public awareness campaigns.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    2,4-d (Aminex®, Agriphar S.A.), Fluroxypyr (Starane®, Dow AgroSciences), Fluroxypyr + aminopyralid (Bofort®, Dow AgroSciences), Glyphosate (Roundup® Max, Monsanto), Triclopyr (Garlon®, Dow AgroSciences), Triclopyr + aminopyralid (Garlon® Super, Dow AgroSciences)

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Acknowledgments

The present study was supported by the Public Service of Wallonia (DGARNE-DCENN). The authors are grateful to Bernard Delecourt and Pierre Otte (DGARNE-DCENN). The authors thank four anonymous referees for very constructive comments on the manuscript. The authors also thank the following for their assistance in the field: Stéphane Bocca (Natagora ASBL), Quentin Delen (DGARNE-DCENN), Sophie Duchâteau (CR-Ourthe), Florence Hauregard (CR-Vesdre), Christine Heinesch (CR-Amblève), Jean-Claude Krack (DGARNE-DNF), and Grégory Motte (DGARNE-DEMNA).

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Correspondence to Arnaud Monty.

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Delbart, E., Mahy, G., Weickmans, B. et al. Can Land Managers Control Japanese Knotweed? Lessons from Control Tests in Belgium. Environmental Management 50, 1089–1097 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-012-9945-z

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Keywords

  • Fallopia japonica
  • Polygonum cuspidatum
  • Reynoutria japonica
  • Invasive plant management
  • Stem-injection
  • Herbicide
  • Control