Conscientious Herbicide Application
CSR is not an herbicide spray company.
The services we offer do not revolve around chemical applications, but rather the restoration of native plant habitats. When we do use herbicides we treat weeds only so that native grasses and plants can establish themselves and out-compete weeds for water, light, nutrients, and space. These native plants are critical in the management of noxious weeds and play an important role in lessening the use of herbicides. A management methodology cannot simply treat infestations, but must take a holistic approach in order to understand how invasive weeds have become established, their ecological roles, and most importantly, realize that there must be a means to replace the noxious weed niche with a desirable plant regime.
Without a healthy, desirable population of native plants to colonize areas of weed infestations, herbicide application or any method of control would become a never-ending cycle of pointless management.
Put simply, the establishment of a native plant regime closes the loop on invasive weed treatment. A stewardship program that focuses on weed infestation treatments will provide native plants with this important opportunity for establishment.
The management of noxious weeds is an integral aspect of implementing a long-term plan for sustaining and improving natural resources. CSR, Inc. is here to provide a healthy environment that supports a diverse array of native plant and animal habitats. Weed management is one tool available to aid in this restoration.
Noxious/invasive weeds cause several detrimental effects upon the environment. They destroy wildlife habitat, displace native species, reduce plant and animal diversity by creating monocultures, disrupt migratory and waterfowl flight patterns and nesting habits, increase the likelihood of fires, and are the second largest contributor to native species becoming threatened or endangered. Viewed in this context, a weed management program becomes imperative to further enhance the restoration of degraded landscapes.
CSR’s weed management program is derived from the following objectives:
- implement effective weed control methods using an integrated approach
- prevent the introduction, reproduction and spread of designated noxious weeds and invasive exotic plants
- protect important or critical habitats from weed invasion
- rehabilitate infested areas to reduce susceptibility of reinvasion
- contain the spread, reduce the density, and decrease the size of existing infestations
The restoration of native populations often takes place in less than ideal locations, either in areas that already have established weed populations, or in areas that are vulnerable to rapidly encroaching invasive plants. Often the most efficient method for weed control is herbicide application. CSR, Inc Licensed Herbicide Applicators are certified to spray in residential, wildland and aquatic locations.
In very sensitive areas, chemical control is not an option. In these situations, mechanical methods such as mowing and hand pulling are utilized. These methods are significantly more labor intensive and require a longer time line for success.
The integrated weed management approach:
- take immediate action when satellite patches or new weed invasions are discovered to prevent further spread and the establishment of new seed nurseries (proactive approach)
- prevent soil disturbance or destruction of native vegetation to help foster a healthy system that reduces the likelihood of further invasions
- keep machinery and equipment clean to lessen seed dispersal
- cutting of noxious weeds before they produce seeds
- hand pulling
- Biological Control:
- where feasible apply biological control agents to reduce vegetative mass, seed production, and/or density of established weeds
- where feasible leave weed areas untreated to facilitate existing biological control agents
- Chemical Application:
- comply with all state and federal laws pertaining to herbicide applications
- apply chemicals in a way that considers the biology, ecology and site characteristics of a weed infestation
- use the least amount of herbicide necessary to satisfy management goals
- apply chemicals in a way that minimizes damage to non-target species
Understanding how herbicides operate, as well as how plant species in different stages of growth react to herbicide applications, improves success in weed control which will limit damage to desired species. When treating weed infestations consideration is given to determine the most effective strategy with the least impact on native systems. Each site has unique characteristics (i.e. location to the water table, soil structure, feasibility of bio-control release, degree of slope, desirable species present, the stage of growth of weed species) that have to be assessed before management is enacted.
CSR, Inc.'s Licensed Chemical Applicators utilize an appropriate variety of chemicals specific for project requirements. There are specific herbicide chemical applications that control annual grasses, like Cheat Grass (Bromus tectorum), while another herbicide is capable of targeting broad leaf weeds, such as the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). CSR Inc. continues to research and explore more appropriate chemicals and treatment methods for weed abatement. We do not want to become complacent with the herbicides or treatments we are currently using if more effective methods are available. This requires a willingness to try new techniques in order to strive to improve management. The aim is to improve the control of invasive/noxious weeds while at the same time limiting the impact upon the ecosystem.
While not all situations require an herbicide application, the terrain and scale of restoration often make chemical applications the most efficient choice to control invasive weeds, maximizing restoration success.
Once a balanced native ecosystem has been established, further chemical application is not necessary. Weed control is paramount to successful restoration.