California has abundant wildlands — forests, rangeland, open areas, wildlife refuges and national, state, and local parks — that need protection from invasive plants. Invasive plants affect all Californians by increasing wildfire potential; reducing water resources; accelerating erosion and flooding; threatening wildlife; degrading range, crop and timberland; and diminishing outdoor recreation opportunities. According to the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC), more than 200 identified plant species harm California's wildlands.
Cal-IPC and the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM), with funding from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) Alliance Grants Program, developed two resources that provide land managers access to the latest information on non-herbicide practices for managing weeds in wildlands. Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control is a free downloadable manual. The same information has been incorporated into an interactive online tool called WeedCUT (Weed Control User Tool: weedcut.ipm.ucanr.edu).
"We anticipate WeedCUT will increase the use of more mechanical, physical, or biological practices, and potentially result in the reduction of herbicides used to manage wildland invasive weeds," said area IPM advisor emeritus Cheryl Wilen. "Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control and WeedCUT were developed so land managers can become more knowledgeable and skilled in the use of non-herbicide methods as part of an IPM program.”
Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control provides comprehensive descriptions of 21 commonly used non-herbicide weed control techniques and biological control agents for 18 invasive plants. Each chapter is the synthesis of research and on-the-ground knowledge from practitioners about non-herbicide methods. The chapters describe how a technique is best applied, the types of invasive plants and environmental conditions where it is most effective, and what its shortfalls might be. Environmental, cultural, and human safety risks are highlighted to help support the safe and effective use of these methods.
WeedCUT is the online version and can be used to learn about the different non-herbicide management methods, including the section on biological control. To filter through the database and learn which management practice to consider for a particular site and invasive plant type, a simple interface allows users to pick characteristics that describe their site and invasive plant problem. The tool then filters through the database to display the practices ranked by efficacy (excellent, good, fair, poor or ineffective). As in the manual, use of the technique and potential hazards are covered.
Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control and WeedCUT are designed to be the go-to resources for practitioners that complement their conventional weed management work with non-herbicide techniques or are restricted in their use of herbicides. Both resources will help practitioners manage weeds more effectively.
“Many experts in the field have contributed to create the manual and WeedCUT. It has been exciting to see these techniques described and reviewed so carefully. We're looking forward to seeing land managers, as well as all folks fighting weeds, incorporating the information from the manual and WeedCUT into their work,” said Jutta Burger, science program director and project lead with Cal-IPC.
While the manual and tool focus on non-herbicide methods, the hope is future funding can be found to continue the work and integrate herbicide options online.
"Land managers typically use both herbicide and non-herbicide methods, alone and in combination, to manage invasive plants in wildlands," said UC Cooperative Extension advisor and UC IPM-affiliated advisor Tom Getts. "A tool that combined both herbicide and non-herbicide methods would guide land managers to determine the most effective overall management program for their particular site."
- Author: Thomas Getts
While typically associated with timber production and arborists, chainsaws are one of the tools available to those tasked with removing non-desirable woody vegetation. What a fun, powerful, and dangerous tool they are! Ranging from small light electric saws to two-stroke saws with 30 inch bars, there is a chainsaw manufactured to fit your needs. After working a saw all day, the old adage “less is more” may come to mind, as smaller saws are easier to handle over long hours.
Recently, I have been helping out with a document focused on non-chemical control methods for weeds. While contributing to the section on chainsaws, it made me reminiscent of work I conducted in graduate school. The project I worked on focused on removing Russian olive, which is invasive within riparian areas of the arid west. I thought it would be worthwhile sharing a few tips and pointers when considering using a saw, and what to do after the cut has been made.
The first step to using a saw is being comfortable with the tool's operation. This point cannot be overstated! Even small saws have tremendous potential to injure the user. Likewise, trees are large heavy objects that have potential to injure or damage anyone or anything within the height of the tree. Even straight trees do not always fall where the feller intends. Training in proper felling technique is the second point, which cannot be overstated. Personal protective equipment is essential: gloves, helmet, face shield, ear protection, and a good pair of chaps are all necessary.
I am not going to get into the details of chainsaw operation, as I want to focus on what happens after the cut. However, there are three tips I want to share:
- Keep the area around your feet clear while making a cut, and always have an escape path if things do not go as planned.
- Proper chain tension is essential - too tight and the chain will not spin, too loose and it can come flying off the from the bar at high velocity. (It only takes throwing a chain once to pay close attention.)
- Use the chain brake whenever an active cut is not being conducted. The chain brake keeps the chain from moving and is there to keep you safe.
For effective control, cuts need to be made low to the ground, as tall stumps can be cumbersome for future management actions on site. Sometimes a low cut is best achieved by felling the tree first, and making a second cut of the shorter stump close to the ground. Rocks, dirt and terrain can often prevent a low cut being made in all instances. Keeping the chain free of debris is essential to keeping the teeth sharp and functioning properly. Keeping the chain clean, while making a low cut is a fine line, and may be a bit of a catch-22 situation. Rocks can be especially problematic, especially in the heat of the summer when a single spark can start a fire.
Coniferous tree species are an excellent target for control with chainsaws. Western Juniper, a native species, has expanded its range in the Intermountain Region of California over the past 100 years, as land management practices such a fire suppression have changed. Chainsaws are one of the first tools mangers reach for to remove large juniper trees in restoration projects, with goals such as protecting sage grouse habitat. Coniferous species typically will not re-sprout after being cut low to the ground, below any green material. (However, there have been reports of occasional re-sprouts from juniper.) The general lack of suckering/sprouting from conifers make chainsaws an excellent tool to remove the woody vegetation. After the trees are cut, it is still important to monitor these areas for saplings initially missed, or for new seedlings.
Above: Large and small juniper in Lassen county. Notice the expanse of juniper on the hills in the distance.
Many of the invasive tree species in our state are deciduous, and deciduous trees are typically not as easy to manage with chainsaws alone. Eucalyptus, tree-of-heaven, and tamarix, are just some examples of deciduous woody species that are invasive within California. Unlike coniferous tree species, many deciduous trees will vigorously re-sprout from the stump or roots after being cut. Chainsaws are a good choice to remove mature vegetation, but they must be combined with secondary control methods to kill the roots. Continual cutting of the regrowth multiple times a year for multiple years will suppress the root system, but may not kill it. Chainsaws are one of the tools used to trim suckers, but other tools such as sawzall's, loppers, or brush cutters may be more effective. Suckers can also be dealt with using a physical barrier. Tarps, black plastic, or rubber can be stretched over the stumps after cutting to physically prevent sprouts from reaching any sunlight. For some deciduous woody species, there has been evidence that cutting before the dry season can help limit the number of suckers which grow after cutting.
Above: A chainsaw would be the tool needed cut these Eucalyptus. Follow up with herbicides or tarps would be needed to control the regrowth.
Chainsaws are often combined with an herbicide application for woody vegetation control. The applications are referred to as “cut stump” treatments on various product labels. Two of the most common herbicides used are triclopyr and glyphosate. (Many other herbicides are also labeled for cut stump treatments). Ideally, the tree should be felled and applications should be made to a fresh cut where the concentrated herbicide can be painted or sprayed onto the stump. It is important to get adequate coverage of the cambial layer (inner bark) on the surface of the cut, and down the bark on the shoulder of the stump. These systemic herbicide applications will translocate down to the roots of the removed woody vegetation, helping to prevent suckering. Cut stump treatments are not just used for invasive plants, but can also be an effective way to deal with sprouting stumps in urban landscapes.
Whatever invasive woody vegetation is being targeted with chainsaws, it is important to monitor the site for trees that may have been missed, suckers from old root systems, or seedlings germinating in from the seedbank.
This article first appeared in the UC Weed Science blog.
Thomas Getts joined ANR as a UCCE area weed ecology and cropping systems advisor in Lassen, Plumas-Sierra and Modoc counties on June 1.
Getts earned his B.A. in forestry management and an M.S. in weed science from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
Prior to joining UCCE, Getts conducted and was involved with numerous studies focusing on weeds, invasive species, herbicides and crops while working on his master's degree at Colorado State University. Some specific studies he worked on included cut stump treatment to control Russian olive, herbicide tolerance of restoration species, invasive species mapping projects, and screening of experimental herbicides for weed control and crop safety. Working as a teacher's assistant, he was responsible for laboratory instruction, experiment design and execution, experiment maintenance and sprayer calibration.
Getts is based in Susanville and can be reached at (530) 251-2650 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hugh Graham joined ANR as associate director of the Resource Planning and Management (RPM) team on June 15. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the RPM team, including processing of budget transactions, tracking of funding commitments, preparation of federal fund applications and reconciliation of ANR's provision accounts.
Prior to joining the ANR RPM team, Graham worked at the UC Berkeley Budget Office for three years.
He earned a B.A. in Russian language at Bowdoin College and Master of Nonprofit Administration at the University of San Francisco with a concentration in finance and accounting.
Graham is based at UC Office of the President and can be reached at (510) 987-0053 and email@example.com.
Anne Schellman joined ANR as an urban IPM educator on May 4.
Prior to joining ANR, Schellman was the program manager for the California Center for Urban Horticulture at UC Davis. She was instrumental in the rollout of 16 drought workshops held last year and assisted in scheduling five drought workshops for 2015.
“Her dedication to these workshops helped CCUH respond to the urgent request by the Department of Water Resources for assistance in educating the public and landscape professionals on landscape water conservation during this severe drought,” said Dave Fujino, CCUH executive director.
Schellman is based in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1240 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauren Snowden is the new UC Master Gardener Program statewide training coordinator. She will be responsible for developing trainings, resources and materials to assist coordinators and volunteers for county-based programs. Volunteer Management Institute, drought train-the-trainer workshops, volunteer management system help resources and the expert speaker database are a few examples of the many projects Snowden is managing in her new role.
Before joining the statewide staff for the UC Master Gardener Program, Snowden worked for Yuba County Health and Human Services where she was an administrative analyst for 12 years. At Yuba County HHS, she worked alongside management to develop training programs for employees and co-workers.
Snowden has been a UC Master Gardener volunteer in Sutter-Yuba counties since 2011. As a UC Master Gardener volunteer, she has co-managed her program's monthly county newsletter and trained the public and fellow volunteers on her favorite gardening topics, such as vegetable gardening, planting for spring flowers and patio gardening.
Snowden is based in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1203 and email@example.com.
Paula Allison joined ANR as executive director of the California 4-H Foundation on June 15. Allison brings a wealth of fund development experience.
While president of her own consulting company, she provided guidance in strategic planning for a K-12 charter school system and a private university, developing case statements, creating a development program from the ground up, creating annual campaigns, developing a corporate partnership program and planning for a $25 million campaign. She worked for several years at BizWorld, an organization that teaches youth about entrepreneurship, where she developed external partnerships with corporations, nonprofits and leaders in education. Her experience includes board development and volunteer training and management. Recently, she established a branch in her community for the National Charity League, a mother-daughter service organization that focuses on philanthropy and leadership. Allison has a strong interest in youth development. Growing up, she was exposed to 4-H through her two older sisters.
“In joining Development Services and the California 4-H Foundation, Paula joins a terrific team of skilled and hard-working development professionals,” said Cindy Barber, who retired as Development Services director in June. “I know you will all enjoy working with Paula. She is energetic, enthusiastic and creative.”
Allison succeeds Amy McGuire, who had been acting director of the California 4-H Foundation since October.
Andrea Ambrose is interim director of Development Services while the position is under recruitment.
Allison is based in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1202 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juan Zavala has joined ANR as an administrative officer 2, responsible for coordinating program and financial activities for the California Institute for Water Resources and Program Planning and Evaluation. Zavala splits his time between the two programs.
Zavala, whose parents are coffee growers, is fluent in English and Spanish and earned a B.S. in agricultural engineering from National Engineering University in Managua, Nicaragua.
Before joining ANR, he was an administrative assistant at UC Davis. At the nonprofit Fair Trade USA, he implemented and improved strategic relationships with stakeholders and supported task management by communicating with customers and partners in Latin America and in the U.S.
Located in Oakland, Zavala can be reached at (510) 987-0805 and email@example.com.
ANR wins 2 book design awards
Celeste Rusconi, Communication Services and Information Technology art director, created the overall design used in both books. Senior designer Robin Walton did the production of the citrus book. Senior designer Will Suckow created all of the illustrations and did all color correction for the photographs in both books. Ann Senuta was the production manager for both books.
PubWest Design Awards have been recognizing “superior design and outstanding production quality of books” for 31 years./span>