Passive solar heating knocks out invasive plants on the spot
UC IPM plant pathologist and advisor Jim Stapleton and a team of researchers have developed a method for removing invasive plants from California’s riparian areas and other sensitive habitats that will avoid on-site burning and reduce the spread of seeds and other propagative tissues.
When used during summer months, high-temperature, passive-solar tents quickly and effectively destroy invasive plant debris on-site, Stapleton said, preventing the need to haul material to an access point for pickup and disposal and avoiding the possibility of leaving detached plant parts behind.
Project researchers are working with small groups of volunteers, who are trying to remove invasive plants in a variety of areas in Southern California, to test and demonstrate the solar tents at several sites; almost 30 people attended the demonstration held at Lakeside River Park Conservancy in San Diego County. The scientists will be following up with surveys.
The team plans to conduct additional tests, especially in cooler areas and during cooler seasons, to determine other regions and times solarization could be an effective method to destroy invasive weeds.
Others working on the project include Susan Mallek, Stapleton’s former staff research associate; Ron Eng, California Department of Food and Agriculture biologist; Al Franklin, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management botanist; Carl Bell, regional advisor, invasive plants, UCCE San Diego County; Milt McGiffin, CE specialist and plant physiologist, Botany & Plant Sciences, UC Riverside; and Kris Weathers, graduate student, UC Riverside.
Funding for this research comes from the UC Extension IPM Demonstration Grants Program.
Carl Bell, (858) 694-3386
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