IPM in BC
- Invasive plants cause significant environmental, economic and social harm.
- Some are toxic and can cause serious burns and even blindness (e.g. Giant hogweed)
- In BC, various levels of government and industry spend millions of dollars on invasive
plant management every year!
Cyphocleonus achates is an effective biocontrol agent
for several species of knapweed
Integrated Pest Management
What is Integrated Pest Management?
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) requires a proactive and preventative approach,
while incorporating a variety of control and treatment options. These options use
a combination of pest management techniques in an organized program to suppress
weed populations in effective, economical and environmentally sound ways.
IPM is a process for planning and managing sites to prevent weed problems and for
making decisions about when and how to intervene when problems occur. In an IPM
program, land managers regularly monitor sites to collect the information needed
to decide whether or not action must be taken. A key idea is that it is necessary
to take action only when infestations warrant it, not as a routine measure. If treatment
is warranted, land managers choose the most appropriate combination of control measures
for the site.
Prevention is the Key
A well developed IPM program emphasizes making changes in the management of the
site to prevent invasive plant problems from occurring. This includes protecting
and attracting native beneficial species (plants, insects and birds) that help to
keep invasive plants at bay. This might even mean changing human activities on the
site, such as restricting the use of recreational vehicles, to prevent disturbance
that often leads to broad-leaf weed invasion.
Management and Control in IPM
Know your plants! Control method needs to be chosen with the plant species in mind:
some species will simply thrive even better when being hand-pulled, while others
will not respond to certain herbicides.
- Cultural control (or preventive methods)
These include plant nutrition, seeding, and choosing strong native plant species
that will thrive in the site's ecosystem.
- Manual and mechanical control
These can include digging, pulling, mowing, mulching, burning, and several others.
- Biological control
These include agents (insects and rusts) imported from the area where the invasive
alien plants originated. For details on biological control, please visit our in-depth
biological control pages
- Chemical control
These include synthetic and naturally derived herbicides. Where herbicides are used,
they should be chosen for compatibility with IPM practices. Application methods
can range from very specific, such as stem injection, to a broader application with
backpack or other sprayers.
Monitoring regularly may be necessary to evaluate the efficacy of the IPM program.
It is essential to maintain and review records to determine what worked, where improvements
should be made, and to determine costs and benefits.
"Healthy, functioning BC ecosystems, free of the impacts of invasive plants."