Establishing Wildflowers After Herbicide Application

Establishing Wildflowers After Herbicide Application

by Mark Renz, Mike Moechnig, and Mary Halstvedt

Efforts to restore or rehabilitate mixed wildflower (forb)-grass prairie landscapes in the Midwestern United States are often compromised by the presence of invasive plants. While herbicides provide effective control of invasive plants, they are often not used due to concern that herbicide residues may persist in the soil and impact establishment of wildflowers. Researchers in Wisconsin and South Dakota examined the response of common native wildflower species seeded in the fall or spring following treatments with Milestone® and Transline® herbicides. The results of this research provide promise for land managers balancing invasive plant control and restoring desirable prairie habitat.

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Effect of Aminopyralid on Desirable Forb Species

Effect of Aminopyralid on Desirable Forb Species

Native forbs are important for plant community function and diversity, and provide food and cover for wildlife. However, invasion by noxious weeds has become a major threat to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability in remnant and restored prairies. A greenhouse study was initiated to evaluate the tolerance of nine native prairie forbs to fall-applied aminopyralid (Milestone® herbicide). Of the forbs evaluated, azure aster (Symphyotrichum oolentangiense), purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia), and closed bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii Griseb) were the most tolerant to aminopyralid. The susceptibility of greenhouse-grown forbs to aminopyralid was comparable to results of the same or similar species in the field and suggests results could be used to predict native forb tolerance in the field.

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