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The Biology and Management of Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

  • Barbra H. Mullin (a1)

Abstract

Purple loosestrife is an invasive, introduced plant that is usually associated with wetland, marshy, or riparian sites. It is found across the northern tier states and provinces in North America. Purple loosestrife affects the diversity of native wetland ecosystems. Infestations lead to severe wildlife habitat degradation, loss of species diversity, and displacement of wildlife-supporting native vegetation, such as cattails and bulrushes. The plant spreads effectively along waterways, and the thick, matted root system can rapidly clog irrigation ditches, resulting in decreased water flow and increased maintenance. Effective management of purple loosestrife along waterways and in riparian areas requires integrating management strategies to prevent further introductions, detecting and eradicating new infestations, and containing and controlling large-scale infestations. Management practices that aid in the control of purple loosestrife include herbicide, physical, and biological practices. Each infestation site should be individually evaluated to determine the appropriate control measure. Factors to be considered include the proximity and type of vegetation on the site, whether the water is flowing or still, and the utilization of the site and the water (domestic, irrigation, recreation, or scenic value).

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The Biology and Management of Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

  • Barbra H. Mullin (a1)

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