Skunk cabbage: Chemical control using herbicides

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • A study in the UK found that two herbicides, glyphosate and 2, 4-D Amine, both killed all skunk cabbage plants in test areas. However, another study in the UK found that although using 2,4-D amine at 9 litres/ha, successfully eradicated skunk cabbage, using glyphosate was unsuccessful at eradicating skunk cabbage, with only limited reduction in growth of the plants.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A study in 2010, at Lymington Reedbeds, England, UK (Chatters 2010) found that herbicide sprays, glyphosate and 2, 4-D Amine, each killed skunk cabbage Lysichiton americanus.   Two months following treatment, most plants sprayed with glyphosate appeared to have been killed, whereas most of those sprayed with 2,4-D amine were found to have new shoots.  However, six months following the treatments, a limited survey did not find any skunk cabbage plants, suggesting that both herbicide applications may have been successful.  The site was divided into two sections. A larger downstream section was treated with glyphosate (Roundup Pro Biactive) at a rate of 6 litres/ha. A smaller, upstream section was treated with 2, 4-D Amine in an unspecified amount. Herbicide was applied by two people over a three day time period.  Surveys were conducted for seven to eight weeks, then six months, after application.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A study in the UK (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation 2009) found that use of 2,4-D amine at a concentration of 9 litres/ha eradicated skunk cabbage Lysichiton americanus, whereas glyphosate did not eradicate skunk cabbage and caused only limited reduction of growth of the plants.  The 2,4-D amine was applied in the month of May at a private garden in Sussex, and at Sheffield Park Garden National Trust property.  Glyphosate was applied at a site in Scotland. No further information was available.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Aldridge, D., Ockendon, N., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Some Aspects of Control of Freshwater Invasive Species. Pages 555-87 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Control of Freshwater Invasive Species

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Control of Freshwater Invasive Species
Control of Freshwater Invasive Species

Control of Freshwater Invasive Species - Published 2017

Control of Freshwater Invasive Species Synopsis

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