Controlling Invasive Plants in Fall and Early Winter




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Fall is an excellent time to control invasive weeds with herbicides. Late summer and fall rains provide land managers with a good opportunity to extend their application season.





This varies depending on your target weed species, location, elevation, aspect and other climatic conditions. Generally, fall applications can be made once herbaceous plants have expanded overwintering rosettes or perennial plants initiate new basal growth.  A light frost may have occurred. It is a good idea to wait for moisture to stimulate growth of rosettes or regrowth of herbaceous perennial plants.


The application window for treating spotted and diffuse knapweed with Milestone is wider than many other herbicide options. Milestone® specialty herbicide at 5 or 7 fl oz/A applied to spotted knapweed in fall gave excellent control (>95%) of both established plants and seedlings for up to 2 years after treatment in Montana. Applications can be made until the soil freezes*.

>> Fall application tips for spotted and diffuse knapweed



Milestone® specialty herbicide at 5 or 7 fluid ounces per acre (fl oz/A) is highly effective for controlling Russian knapweed. Applications of Milestone can be made on Russian knapweed until after the foliage has died back (leaves are brown and dead!) until the soil freezes or is covered with snow. Milestone will provide residual control of plants that try to re-grow and emerge after the initial application*.
>> Fall application tips for Russian knapweed


Field research has shown that fall applications are extremely effective with Milestone® specialty herbicide at labeled rates of 5 to 7 fl oz/A. Tank mixing with another herbicide is not necessary; Milestone alone will control Canada thistle. Applications can be made in the fall as long as there is live Canada thistle foliage. Even though Canada thistle leaves will begin to senesce, generally there is still excellent efficacy up to late October as long as there is some green foliage*.
>> Fall application tips for Canada thistle


Fall application of Milestone® specialty herbicide at 3 to 5 fl oz/A provides excellent control of biennial thistle (e.g., musk, bull, and plumeless thistle). Fall herbicide treatments may be applied to rosettes over a longer period in the fall than in the spring. An additional advantage is that fall treatments reduce the potential of injury from spray drift to foliage of nearby desirable plants since sensitive crops have been harvested or desirable plants are dormant.
>> Fall application tips for biennial thistles


Fall is an excellent time to control blackberry. Opensight® specialty herbicide at 3.3 ounces product/acre (oz/A)/A, or Milestone plus Garlon® 4 Ultra (5 fl oz/A+2 pt/A) provide optimal control of blackberry when applied after bloom and before frost. It is recommend that after mowing, shredding, or burning, applications should be delayed until the next season and enough re-growth has occurred for good uptake and translocation.


Basal bark applications with Garlon® 4 Ultra or Pathfinder® II can control undesirable or invasive brush species year round, extending your vegetation management program. >> Detailed information on application methods and rates

*Opensight® specialty herbicide at 2.5 to 3.3 ounces of product per acre can be applied in fall if other weed species such as whitetop, poison hemlock, common tansy, or annual or biennial mustards are present.

Find recommendations for other species in the Invasive Plant Management with Milestone and Other Herbicides: A Practical Guide for Natural Area Managers

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Milestone and Opensight are not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. When treating areas in and around roadside or utility rights-of-way that are or will be grazed, hayed or planted to forage, important label precautions apply regarding harvesting hay from treated sites, using manure from animals grazing on treated areas or rotating the treated area to sensitive crops. See the product label for details.

State restrictions on the sale and use of Garlon 4 Ultra, Milestone and Opensight apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions.