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Individual study: Small-leaved cotoneaster Cotoneaster integrifolius control by flame gun, Isle of Portland, Dorset, England

Published source details

Bond W. (2003) Controlling cotoneaster – grub, spray or burn. Conservation Land Management, 4-7


Old quarry workings on the Isle of Portland in southern England have a high conservation value for limestone grassland plant species but are being overwhelmed by the introduced invasive, small-leaved cotoneaster Cotoneaster integrifolius. Three different approaches to control (mechanical grubbing, herbicide, and flame gun) were tested in February 2002. The flame gun treatment and its consequences are outlined below.

On 14 February 2002, a triple-nozzle flame gun fuelled by propane gas, as used for weed control in some urban environments, was tested. The flame was applied directly to small-leaved cotoneaster plants. An attempt was made to target the base of the stems where regrowth was otherwise considered most likely to occur.

The flame gun was too small to treat large stands of Cotoneaster. The process was very slow and took time and patience to get damaging heat into the bottom of the stems.

Four months after treatment there was a flush of limestone plant species and although there was some Cotoneaster regrowth it was much less in comparison to the mechanically grubbed area (for a summary see: After eight months, development of a good cover of limestone species continued but the Cotoneaster was also recovering and regeneration unacceptably widespread.

Note: If using or referring to this published study please read and quote the original paper.