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Old World climbing fern [Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br] is a smothering vine that has invaded thousands of hectares of wetlands in southern and central Florida, including the Everglades. For more than two decades, the standard management approach in natural areas has been to cut the vines at waist height, leaving climbing rachis to desiccate in the tree canopy (poodle cutting) and subsequently treat all rooted ground cover with a foliar application of a 3% v/v solution of glyphosate. While this is generally effective, there is increasing interest in providing additional control options and more selective treatments. Along with glyphosate, triclopyr is widely used in invasive plant management and may also provide increased selectivity when treating the ground cover. However, it has not been well tested on L. microphyllum, especially the more recently developed acid and choline formulations. In a series of field trials, we compared the acid, amine, and choline formulations of triclopyr against glyphosate as a positive reference and nontreated plots as a negative reference based on control of L. microphyllum at three wetland sites in southern Florida over the period of 2016 to 2020. Significant reductions in L. microphyllum cover were measured at 1 mo after treatment (MAT) and continued to the termination of the studies at 12 and 28 MAT. We found all three triclopyr formulations applied with a single-nozzle backpack sprayer at 5.4 g ae L−1 provided comparable activity to glyphosate applied at 14.4 g ae L−1. There were few differences in L. microphyllum efficacy among the three triclopyr formulations at each site. These results indicate that triclopyr is a suitable alternative to glyphosate for L. microphyllum control in wetland ecosystems. Future research should evaluate triclopyr efficacy on L. microphyllum in varied hydrologic conditions to better refine treatment prescriptions for wetlands.
Miconia (Miconia calvescens DC.) is a tropical tree species from South and Central America that is a highly invasive colonizer of Hawaii's forested watersheds. Elimination of satellite populations is critical to an effective containment strategy, but extreme topography limits accessibility to remote populations by helicopter operations only. Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) is a novel weed control tool designed to pneumatically deliver encapsulated herbicide projectiles. It is capable of accurately treating miconia satellites within a 30 m range in either horizontal or vertical trajectories. Efficacy was examined for the encapsulated herbicide projectiles, each containing 199.4 mg ae triclopyr, when applied to miconia in 5-unit increments. Experimental calibrations of the HBT platform were recorded on a Hughes 500-D helicopter while conducting surveillance operations from November 2010 through October 2011 on the islands of Maui and Kauai. Search efficiency (min ha−1; n = 13, R2 = 0.933, P< 0.001) and target acquisition rate (plants hr−1, n = 13, R2 = 0.926, P< 0.001) displayed positive linear and logarithmic relationships, respectively, to plant target density. The search efficiency equation estimated target acquisition time at 25.1 sec and a minimum surveillance rate of 67.8 s ha−1 when no targets were detected. The maximum target acquisition rate for the HBT platform was estimated at 143 targets hr−1. An average mortality factor of 0.542 was derived from the product of detection efficacy (0.560) and operational treatment efficacy (0.972) in overlapping buffer areas generated from repeated flight segments (n = 5). This population reduction value was used in simulation models to estimate the expected costs for one- and multi-year satellite population control strategies for qualifying options in cost optimization and risk aversion. This is a first report on the performance of an HBT helicopter platform demonstrating the capability for immediate, rapid-response control of new satellite plant detections, while conducting aerial surveillance of incipient miconia populations.
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