Response of Old World climbing fern and native vegetation to repeated ground herbicide treatments

  • Published source details Hutchinson J.T. & Langeland K.A. (2015) Response of Old World climbing fern and native vegetation to repeated ground herbicide treatments. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management (formerly Hyacinth Control Journal 1962-1975), 53, 14-21.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use herbicide to control problematic plants: freshwater swamps

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Use herbicide to control problematic plants: freshwater swamps

    A replicated, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 2006–2008 in six freshwater swamps invaded by Old World climbing fern Lygodium microphyllum in Florida, USA (Hutchinson & Langeland 2015) reported that spraying the fern with herbicide had no clear effect on native plant richness or ground cover after two years. Unless specified, statistical significance was not assessed. Before intervention, plots destined to be sprayed contained 7–10 native plant species and had 46–72% native vegetation cover (mostly ferns). After two years, they contained 8–11 native plant species and had 33–67% native vegetation cover (mostly weedy species). Meanwhile, unsprayed plots contained 9 native plant species (sprayed plots statistically similar in ≥10 of 12 comparisons both before and after) and had 93–107% native vegetation cover (sprayed plots significantly lower in ≥11 of 12 comparisons both before and after). Herbicide treatments did reduce cover of the climbing fern (e.g. sprayed plots before: 59–72%; two years after: <1–4%). Methods: In September/October 2006, thirteen 20-m2 plots were established in each of six fern-invaded swamps. Seventy-two plots were sprayed with herbicide (1 plot/swamp for each of 12 different herbicides). Initial treatment was followed up with spot-treatments every 6 months. The final six plots (1 plot/swamp) were left unsprayed. Ground-level vegetation was surveyed on a 10-m-long transect in each plot, immediately before initial spraying (September/October 2006) and every 6 months after (until September/October 2008).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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