Control of poison ivy in managed grassland systems
Summerville, Keith S.
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In many cases, the first step in an autogenic restoration is to eradicate invasive or undesired species. One management strategy used to reduce cover of invasive species in the Tallgrass prairies or oak savannas of Iowa is to reintroduce a fire regime to an area. An alternative management tool is the use of herbicide, although non-target impacts of the application may cause undesired effects on native biodiversity. The goal of this pilot study was to explore the effects of fire or herbicide treatment on mortality and stem growth of poison ivy, a native but potentially invasive species in Iowa grasslands. We tested the hypothesis late season fire would cause greater above-ground mortality of poison ivy compared to late season herbicide application. A total of twelve, two meter square plots were established with a one meter square in the center receiving a treatment. Six plots were treated with fire and six plots were treated with the herbicide triclopyr in September of 2005. Stem density of poison ivy was measured in all plots before and after management treatment and stem mortality was assessed in April 2006. Preliminary data indicate that herbicide did not result in mortality, but fire did result in top kill. Thus, our results indicate that fire may be effective in eradicating poison ivy in Iowa’s seasonal climate.
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