Understanding herbicides to maximise their benefits in IAP management

Graham Harding - Invader Plant Specialist

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.

This suggests that Vegetation Management specialist 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 two families based on their mode of action 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, soil and climatic conditions.

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