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


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.

Output references

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust