Understanding herbicides to maximize their benefits in IAP management

Understanding herbicides to maximize their benefits in IAP management
Graham Harding
Invader Plant Specialists

The term “Vegetation Management Strategy” implies the use of as many management or control options as possible.  Any strategy should include some or all of the traditional management options of mechanical, biological and chemical control as well as veld management.  The result is integrated management.  This suggests that Vegetation Management specialists must have a good knowledge of all management tools. However this is seldom the case, as herbicide knowledge is often insufficient to gain the best benefits from chemical treatments.

Herbicides can be divided into families based on their mode of action (not covered here) and into groups based on how they are used, whether or not they move within the plant, what plant groups they are likely to kill and soil activity.  The problem with these groupings is that they are often taken at face value with no understanding of their meaning.  As with any biological system there are seldom absolutes with herbicide groupings, so a herbicide classified as being residual may behave differently in different situations, soils and climatic conditions.  Proper understanding of herbicides will result in better control with less “collateral” damage.