Agronomy for Sustainable Development

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 319–327 | Cite as

Exotic weed contamination in Swiss agriculture and the non-agriculture environment

Review Article


Swiss farmers nowadays gain a great part of their income from ecological compensation areas, especially wildflower strips, instead of cash crops. Mainly Crisium arvense and invasive alien plant species such as Solidago ssp. are abundant in ecological compensation areas; Reynoutria ssp. is highly abundant in non-agricultural zones and increasingly abundant in agricultural fields; Ambrosia artemisiifolia is an annual weed in agriculture and mandatory to control in Switzerland. Here, we present the results of a survey of wildflower strips in ecological compensation areas. The results of field and pot trials with Solidago, Reynoutria and Ambrosia species are also presented, as well as strategies for Ambrosia control and the information campaign on Ambrosia in Switzerland. The major result we found that was that wildflower strips are infested by noxious weeds and invasive alien plant species. Infestation is in most cases not as alarming as it is sometimes presented in the daily press. Solidago, Reynoutria and Ambrosia species cannot always be fully killed by one control measure. A check of efficacy and repeated control is necessary to achieve complete killing. Abundance of these species in non-agricultural zones makes weed control methods subject to public discussions. The main outcome of the work with weed species interfering in agricultural and non-agricultural zones is the conclusion that guidelines are needed to concentrate financial and human resources on real problems such as public health or damage to infrastructure. Three elements — a collection of weak point sheets for noxious endemic and exotic weed species, a detailed list of costs for control methods, and a detailed list of restrictions for use of control methods in environmental zones, both adapted to a country or region — would allow any functionary in any region to choose adequate control methods.


invasive plants weed control Reynoutria Solidago Ambrosia 


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Station Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil ACWNyonSwitzerland

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