Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Video of Emerald Ash Borer - Illinois First Detector Forest Pest Program

The Illinois First Detector Forest Pest Program has a new video about Emerald Ash Borer and training dates

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New publication available - Identification of Japanese Stiltgrass

The River to River CWMA, along with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service and the University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health has recently published a new field guide to the identification of Japanese Stiltgrass.  Included in this guide are detailed descriptions and pictures of the characteristics needed for identification as well as comparisons to look-a-like species. 

Hi- and low- resolution versions of this publication can be found on the Alabama Extension website at:

You can also order printed copies from Alabama Extension at:

For those of you in Illinois, the IWAP Invasive Species Campaign has some printed copies to use in the state.  Please contact Chris Evans, ISC Coordinator, at or 618-435-8138 x 131 for information on obtaining printed copies.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Video on Thousand Cankers Disease - First Detector Forest Pest Program

The Illinois First Detector Forest Pest Program has a new video about Thousand Cankers Disease and some new training available.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Job Announcement - NW IL Restoratio​n Specialist​/Invasive Strike Team

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation is seeking an experienced restoration specialist to join a team who will eradicate invasive plants from state parks and natural areas in Northwest Illinois.

Control strategies will include manual, mechanical, prescribed fire and chemical techniques. This 2 year position will operate out of the Lost Mound Field Station/Mississippi Palisades State Park. Please submit resumes to Jeff Horn, JDCF, PO Box 216, Elizabeth, IL 61028 or via email to by December 21, 2012.


Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation
126 N. Main St., P.O. Box 216, Elizabeth, IL 61028
LOCATION: Lost Mound Field Station/Mississippi Palisades State Park
TERM: 2 year term
  • High school diploma and 1 year’s training in science-related field or related experience in land management
  • Experience recognizing plant and animal species
  • Experience operating various types of equipment
  • Experience performing physical work.
The Restoration Specialist is part of a team who will eradicate invasive, exotic plants from state parks and natural areas in Northwest Illinois. The area includes 6 counties (Jo Daviess, Carroll, Whiteside, Rock Island, Ogle, Lee) in northwest Illinois. The Restoration Specialist will implement invasive, exotic plant management control methods using integrated pest management strategies. Control strategies will include manual, mechanical, prescribed fire and chemical techniques. This position will use the Weed Information Management System, which is a Microsoft Access-based relational database application that is designed to assist natural resource managers in invasive species management. Accurate and detailed data collection is a significant part of this effort.

This may include one or more of the following functions:
  • Removes exotic species using manual, mechanical, prescribed fire and chemical techniques
  • Documents stewardship activities and/or monitors species using computers and handheld electronic equipment
  • Assists with prescribed burns
  • Maintains tools and equipment
  • Assists with reporting
  • Assists with research and gathering of information on invasive species

  • High school diploma and 1-2 years training in science-related field or related experience in land management
  • Experience working with or knowledge of natural systems. Ability to recognize plant and animal species as required to complete preserve management activities
  • Ability to operate various types of equipment in a safe and efficient manner (e.g.; chainsaw, two-way radio, ATV, 4-wheel drive vehicle, brushcutter, etc)
  • Ability to follow instructions from colleagues
  • Ability to perform physical work, sometime under adverse conditions or in inclement weather such as carrying up to 40 lbs. up to 5 miles over steep terrain for 7 hours/day
  • Willingness and ability to travel throughout northwest Illinois
  • Ability and willingness to have a varying and flexible work schedule
  • Ability to obtain herbicide license within 2 weeks of hire date,
  • Ability to obtain proper fire certification including S130/190 and I100
  • Valid driver’s license
  • PC familiarity, including using a database to maintain preserve records, use of the internet, GPS experience
  • Basic knowledge of GIS and using a PDA with ArcPad.

  • May resolve preserve management problems independently as delegated.
  • Consult with supervisor to develop plans for resolution of unusual or complex problems.
  • Monitor the progress of work groups toward achieving preserve management goals.

  • Consults supervisor on unusual or complex issues
  • Make day-to-day decisions as delegated by supervisor.
  • Receives detailed instructions to complete required tasks
  • May work under close supervision or infrequent supervision
  • Supervises no staff, but may help plan and direct preserve work groups, including other staff or volunteers.

  • Ability to convey work instructions to other preserve management team members, including volunteers.
  • Ability to interact with preserve visitors and to convey basic preserve information.
  • Ability to function productively as a member or leader of a work team.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with multiple supervisors in different locations.

The Restoration Specialist may work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances. These conditions:
  • require considerable physical exertion and/or muscular strain
  • present frequent possibility of injury
  • require long hours in isolated settings

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Saltcedar (Tamarix parviflora) found along the Mississippi River in Alton, IL, population under active management

Saltcedar infestation at Lock and Dam 26
The US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) recently found a small population of smallflower saltcedar (Tamarix parviflora) along the banks of the Mississippi River below Lock and Dam 26 near Alton, IL in July 2012. Recognizing the potential this invader has for spreading throughout the Mississippi River Valley and its ability to dominate riparian areas and exclude native species, the ACOE responded very quickly by initiating an eradication program. This represents one of the first documented infestations of saltcedar in Illinois and is a great example of Early Detection and Rapid Response for a new invader. The ACOE is dedicated to continuing management efforts with the goal of eradicating this population.

ACOE employees treating infestation

Saltcedar does represent a great threat to riparian areas and wetlands in Illinois if populations become established and begin to spread. Luckily, saltcedar is relatively easy to recognize. On the surface, saltcedar looks like a thin, open red cedar tree, with similar leaves and growth. Trees rarely get above 15 feet in height, usually being much smaller and often multi-stemmed. The branches are very slender and wispy. Younger bark has a reddish cast. The flowers on saltcedar are very small and purple. The leaves are very reduced and scale-like, looking very much like the leaves of red cedar.
The reddish bark and reduced leaves help identify saltcedar
(photo courtesy of

Saltcedar often grows as a small, multi-stemmed shrub. The
thin, open branches and small leaves make this plant easily
recognizable (photo courtesy of
 If you think you’ve found saltcedar, please report it either by emailing or by utilizing the online reporting system found at Early Detection and Rapid Response is out best chance of keeping this species from impact Illinois.

Henry and Knox Counties Added to EAB Quarantine in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture has added two new counties (Henry and Knox) to its existing 39-county emerald ash borer (EAB) quarantine.

For full report, go to the Illinois CAPS program news blog HERE.

The Hunt for Invasive Species Slogans 4th Edition - Mascots

We are developing a series of posts to highlight some of the more memorable and fun slogans on invasive species that you can find on publications, bumper stickers, and t-shirts. This series on invasive species slogans will include occasional posts covering different aspects of the topic. These slogans seem to fit into three broad categories: Play-off, Alliteration, and Rhyming.  This series has proven to be very popular so we are expanding it with this post on Invasive Species Mascots.

If you know of some slogans, invasive species illustrations or mascots that haven’t yet been posted in this series, please send them to


Previous to this post, this series of invasive species slogans has focused more on the written aspect of slogans.  Now we want to shift our lens to zoom in on some great illustrations.  Mascots have long been used in advertising and marketing (think of the Pillsbury Doughboy for example).  The same has been true for conservation as well (Hello Smokey the Bear!).  Below are some highlights of mascots being used in invasive species outreach programs.  I've added in a few "not exactly mascots' at the end because I really liked them and needed to find a way to share them with everyone.

  The ‘not quite official’ State Seal of Virginia
h/t Tim Farmer

One of the best things about doing this series of invasive species slogans has been the emails and entries that I’ve received from folks across the country. This is perhaps my favorite of the bunch. I got an email from Tim Farmer down in Virginia with the official and ‘not quite official’ state seals for their great state. I’ll copy in Tim’s description here before showing you the seals

“Here at the State Arboretum of Virginia, Ailanthus is a real problem. So I modified the state seal to show the way we feel. The REAL state seal features a woman in a tunic ("Virtue") standing over a fallen tyrant, her foot on his chest. She is holding a spear in one hand and a sword in the other, with the words "Sic Semper Tyrannus" (Thus Always to Tyrants) beneath.

Our modified version has Virtue standing with her foot on a tree stump, with Ailanthus leaves on either side. She is holding a chain saw and a shovel, and the tag line reads "Sic Semper Ailanthus."

Doesn't she know you can't operate a chainsaw without the proper PPE?

Great work Tim! Consider this a challenge to all of you other states to see if you can modify your seals to top this.

Tropical Soda Apple, the Plant from Hell

That is one devilish plant

This is one mascot that a horror movie could be made about. That term “Plant from Hell” has been used on about 100 different invasive species, but the first time I heard it was for Tropical Soda Apple so, to me, this is the original demonic photosynthesizer. This mascot from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services really utilizes that nickname well. From the blood-red eyes to the flames licking up around the plant, this guy does look like he’s straight out of the fiery pit.

Didymo Monster

"Noone nose better than me to snot make fun of invasive species
but instead to cough up the location by reporting phlegm to the proper
authorities so that they can hack them out of the system and
blow away their chances to flu the coop and spread" - Anonymucus

This cartoon is right, Didymo, aka 'rock snot', is ‘snot’ a joke! This nasty aquatic invasive algae can be a terror on streams. As a somewhat avid fly fisherman, this is one I definitely do not want spreading around. I wish I knew the original source of this cartoon, I first saw it in a presentation on Didymo at an invasive species conference in Missouri. If you know the source, please let me know ( and I’ll be sure to give proper credit.

The Many Faces of Yellow Starthistle

Many of you likely know yellow starthistle as a serious invader of western rangelands. This plant is a major bad actor, but its appearance must just invite people to animate it. Over the years, I’ve ran across several different ‘versions’ of starthistle, each with their own personality.

The ‘Evil’ Starthistle

So that's how they outcompete the natives

These are a couple of screen shots from a YouTube video posted by the BLM. This version of starthistle is 100% pure evil and comes equipped with death ray eyes (and I thought the spiny bracts were bad enough)! The bloodshot eyes and Bart Simpson-like hair really do round out this starthistle as being the toughest on the block. This picture also has the honor of being the only slogan in this entire series that has earned a place up on my wall.

The “Sinister” Starthistle

To be truly sinister, this guy needs a pointy beard

If you’ve followed this series of posts, then you may recognize this picture as coming from the Forest Service’s ‘Give a Hoot, Gives Weed the Boot’ campaign that was posted about earlier. This version of the starthistle would make a great villain on a Saturday morning cartoon. Extra credit goes to the illustrator for utilizing spines for angry eyebrows!

The ‘Happy’ Starthistle

Don't let his looks fool you, this happy
little fellow is actually a terror

This fun drawing is by Gary Raymond from a delightful book titled “Weeds on the Move” by Donna and Shawna Vaughn. While the other caricatures of this invader aim to give off negative vibes, this one goes for more of a ‘pleasant’ tone. While there is definitely nothing pleasant about an infestation of starthistle, Gary’s drawings certainly do make this book a fun read.

Murry the Squirrel

I’ve got to admit, this one confused me quite a bit when I first looked at it. I didn’t know why Murry the Squirrel was stomping out invasive plants, but I was glad he was and was willing to help out! This comes out of Murrysville PA (hence the name Murry for our furry little plant stomper) and their Friends of Murrysville Parks. This pamphlet details information on a handful of invasive species and what can be done to manage them. Peppered throughout the trifold are pictures of Murry apparently distraught over invasives.   I really love it when local organzations or agencies take invasive species seriously and are willing to let people know about it.  Great work Murrysville!

Emmie the Emerald Ash Borer
h/t Jim Kirkland and Gae Morris

Becoming "Emmie" shows true dedication to outdoor education!

This great mascot was an invention of the Illinois Forest Resource Center to be used during Stewardship Week, which is a huge event to teach thousands of school children about many different aspects of stewardship and conservation (on a side note, I’ve been honored to take part in this event now for the past five years). Emmie has been partnering with mere humans to teach kids about the threat of Emerald Ash Borer and why they need to “Burn It Where You Buy It”.  I remember sitting beside Emmie the Emerald Ash Borer at lunch during Stewardship Week and while yes they are very fond of Ash Trees, I can say conclusively that emerald ash borers also take a liking to BBQ sandwiches!

Vin Vasive

Words cannot described how freaked out I am by this picture

This is one mascot that gives me nightmares. Vin Vasive is the spokesperson (can you call a compilation of insects formed into a human shape a person?) for, a USDA-APHIS website. If the USDA-APHIS was aiming to scare people into worrying about invasive pests, then they succeeded!

Commander Ben, Invasive Hunter

Ben, on the attack

While not technically a ‘mascot’, Commander Ben has developed into a great champion for invasive species. His videos, interviews, and articles on his website -, are wonderful and very entertaining. He’s been getting some much deserved attention for his efforts. Keep it up Ben!  From his website, here is a cartoon of Ben from the cover of Science Weekly.

Ben's battles making the cover of Science Weekly

"Little MO", The New Zealand Mudsnail

Hey, that is not where a snail's eyes are located?

This little mascot comes from a great kids’ website from the Illinois-Indiana Seagrant about Nabbing Aquatic Invaders - There are so many great things on this website, it was hard to choose just one to highlight. One of my favorites was ‘Little MO’. This snail just looks like trouble. I especially like the little ‘NZ’ sticker on his shell! Please check this website out, I especially appreciated the ‘Car Talk Credits- like’ names of the officers. I think it is just great that the officer for the Gulf is named “Louie Z Anna”!

The “Not Exactly Mascots” Section

h/t Teresa Grout

I really do wish I was creative enough to come up with as cool as an acronym as this

I know this one isn’t a mascot but I wanted to include it here. This is perhaps the best acronym I’ve ever seen. The “Rapid Response Invasive Plant Intervention Team of the UP” Or RRIP-IT-UP comes to us from the Upper Peninsula Conservation & Development Area, Inc. This response team manages a lot of garlic mustard by, you guessed it, ripping it up!

CactoBlastis or Cacto Blast Us?
h/t Joel Floyd

A beautiful drawing of an ugly problem

Here’s another great illustration that was sent to me. Joel Floyd, with USDA-APHIS, designed this for use on a T-shirt for the Cactoblastis program. If you know about this moth, it has been used as a biocontrol for invasive prickly pear in parts of the world, but has spread to the southeast United States and is attacking out native prickly pear species. Aphis has been leading the charge on the management of this insect, including coming up with great T-shirt designs.

Garlic Mustard Wine
h/t Troy Evans
Mmmm, tasty

Yes, you read that correctly, Garlic Mustard wine. I can think of few plants less appropriate to make wine from than Garlic Mustard. Seriously, maybe poison ivy or jimsonweed wine would be worse but it is debatable. I do however really like their slogan “Eliminating Invasive Plants one bottle at a time”. I think this bottle has remained firmly unopened for fear of what’s inside. If you’ve ever tried such a concoction, please let me know what it tasted like (and please do not offer to share it with me!). Just a quick note, if this posts gets back to the folks that actually produce this Garlic Mustard wine, my sincere apologies for disparaging your product but, honestly, you had it coming!

What was originally meant to be a 3-part series has now been expanded to at least four.  This 'Mascot' edition has probably been my favorite one to make so far.  I keep getting impressed with the creativity and talent on display with these slogans and illustrations and, best of all, they are  all for a good cause - increasing awareness about invasive species.  So, to all of you conservationists out there, I say keep up the good work and please do use your talents to bring some humor and entertainment into a field that is honestly often somewhat depressing.
Please do check out the other entries in this series on Play-off, Alliteration, and Rhyming and all of the FUN posts we've put up on this blog.  I am predicting that this will not be the last post in this series, as new slogans and illustrations are being made every day.  As always, if you see something that you think would be good to include, please send it to me at To follow the Illinois ISAM news blog, 'like' us at

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Publications from California - Best Management Practices Guides for Preventing the Spread of Invasive Plants

From the California Invasive Plant Council:   Two recent prevention BMP manuals have been published, one for land managers and one for transportation and utility managers. 

PDFs of these documents are available for download for free at:

Land Managers

Transportation and Utility Managers

Cal-IPC also has lots of print copies of the land manager manual that they’d like to get out beyond California. They’re charging $10 each to cover printing costs. Please let them know if you want some printed copies. Please contact the sender, Doug Johnson, with any questions:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New videos on invasive species from Potomac Highlands CWPMA

The Potomac  Highlands Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area has a series of videos on invasive plants.

These videos are available at:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative launches digital hub for Phragmites information

Ann Arbor, Mich. – A new website,, is taking aim at an invasive plant that is plaguing the Great Lakes. Launched by the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the website is intended to serve as a central hub for information on Phragmites and provide an interactive forum for stakeholders to share ideas, showcase success stories, discuss common challenges, identify information gaps, and strengthen ties between management and research efforts. was developed through the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative (GLPC), a regional partnership established to improve communication and collaboration and lead to more coordinated, efficient and strategic approaches to Phragmites management, restoration and research across the Great Lakes basin.

The introduced strain of Phragmites australis (common reed) has become increasingly widespread in wetlands throughout the Great Lakes region. This highly invasive species spreads rapidly and can negatively affect biodiversity, impair recreational use, decrease property values and increase fire risk. Millions of dollars are spent annually across the region to combat Phragmites, but knowing where to go to learn about the plant, how to manage it or keep up on the latest research can be complicated.

The GLPC project is led by a core team, supported by the USGS Great Lakes Science Center and the Great Lakes Commission, with oversight and input from a regional advisory committee. The effort is part of a broader USGS project funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to support research on the development of sustainable Phragmites management strategies throughout the Great Lakes basin.

According to Dr. Kurt Kowalski, wetland ecologist and principal investigator for the USGS, extensive communication and coordination among stakeholders is important to help get information into the hands of those who need it.

“A tremendous amount of effort is being expended to manage the invasive form of Phragmites, but there is an ongoing need to coordinate efforts, learn from each other, and develop an active adaptive management strategy that reduces the landscape impact of invasive Phragmites,” Kowalski says. “We are excited to be working with our partners to develop this collaborative and promote an integrated approach to research and management.”

Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission, notes that this new website and the work of the GLPC is a critical component of building a coordinated approach to invasive species management in the Great Lakes region.

“The Phragmites Collaborative website and communication strategy is an important part of the Great Lakes Commission’s efforts to facilitate access to information and resources, and encourage technology transfer and network building among habitat managers, governmental agencies, and private landowners,” Eder says. “The Commission is proud to be engaged in this effort.” is intended to be a dynamic resource. Stakeholders are invited to actively participate in the website by sharing ideas and providing input on its content, including a multimedia section. Webinars hosted by the GLPC will be archived on the site, along with videos, presentations, management documents and the most up-to-date science and research.


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Kenneth G. Johnson, water division administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors' appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a "Declaration of Partnership." The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at

Identification and control of woody invasive species in fall and winter

By Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Invasive Species Campaign
Reprinted from Illinois Forestry Association Fall 2012 Newsletter

With the arrival of autumn comes the changing of the colors of leaves and the ripening of fruits. The onset of the fall and winter seasons also brings an opportunity to easily find woody invasive plants. Many of these invaders turn distinctive colors or stay green longer than native species, allowing for easy identification.

Also, with the cooler temperatures, the disappearance of ticks and chiggers, and the senescence of poison ivy, it is a great time to be out in the woods. As the leaves fall on the trees in our forests, you can see a long distance through the woods and find invasive plants that otherwise would be hard to find.

Even in winter, when the leaves are gone from the invaders, you can still use characteristics like bark color and texture, plant growth habit, stem arrangement, and even fruit to correctly identify these plants.

This article, summarizing a November 2012 IFA webinar on “Dealing with Invasive Species in Fall and Winter”, will discuss the characteristics used to identify several common invasive plants in the dormant season as well as give recommendations for control methods.

For more details on this subject, a recording of the full webinar can be found at

It is important to be sure of your identification in the dormant season before conducting control applications. Misidentification could lead to accidentally controlling a desirable native species. Try to make sure at least three different characteristics check out to verify identification.

Bush Honeysuckle

The yellowing leaves of bush
honeysuckle and the bright red
berries make this plant stand out in the fall.
Perhaps the greatest invasive plant threat to forests in Illinois is bush honeysuckle. This invader is actually a complex of several species, all of which look similar and have comparable impacts.

Bush honeysuckle is a tardily deciduous plant, meaning that it holds on to its leaves longer than most shrubs and trees in Illinois. You can commonly see bush honeysuckle with leaves still hanging on into early winter.

Bush honeysuckle bark is
light tan and looks stringy

The normally dark green leaves typically turn a distinctive yellow-green color in fall. This leaf color, along with bright red (orange-colored in some bush honeysuckle species) berries usually occur in pairs or fours make fall identification extremely easy. 

 Leaves are opposite on bush honeysuckle. If all the leaves have fallen off, then the buds or arrangement of small branches will also be opposite.

Bush honeysuckle also has very distinctive bark, light tan in color and somewhat stringy looking
Once a suspected bush honeysuckle plant is found, a great way to verify its identification is to cut open a small stem. Honeysuckle stems have hollow piths.
Bush honeysuckle twigs will have hollow piths, easily seen by cutting open a stem
Autumn Olive

Autumn olive is one of the most common invasive plants in Illinois. Most landowners can easily identify this plant in the growing season by the silvery underside of the leaves. Luckily, autumn olive usually retains at least some of its leaves well into the dormant season. Additionally, the rusty red berries often hang on into winter.

Autumn olive is usually a multistemmed bush with younger stems being light tan to gray in color and smooth with the older stems becoming more gray and rougher.

Autumn olive is usually a
multi-stemmed bush

Twigs of autumn olive are covered in lenticels
and are rough to the touch
(photo by Robert Vidéki,

The twigs of autumn olive are covered in lenticels, small dots, which give the twigs a rough texture.  Often just running a twig through your figures is enough to verify identification. Thorn-like small branches may be present on autumn olive but is also often missing.

Oriental Bittersweet

Oriental bittersweet is a woody vine that can drastically impact forests. Bittersweet has a somewhat patchy distribution across the state, with some areas being overrun and other areas having no bittersweet. Bittersweet looses it leaves somewhat early in the fall, but does turn a distinctive lime-green to yellow color before fading.

Fruit on female Oriental bittersweet vines have an orange-yellow covering
that splits to reveal scarlet berries.  Oriental bittersweet can wrap tightly around a tree
or coil around itself and it recognizable by the light-gray bark with prominent lenticels

The berries can remain on the female plants late into winter. These berries are bright red under an orangish-yellow capsule that peels back.  These berries occur along the stems in the axils as compared to American bittersweet which would only have berries at the end of the branches.

The bark of Oriental bittersweet is very distinctive and, since often the leaves and fruit occur high in the trees, is a good characteristic to learn! Unlike grapevines, which have dark bark, or trumpeter creeper and Japanese honeysuckle, which have papery bark, bittersweet has a light-gray bark with diamond-shaped lenticels, becoming more flaky as the vines age.

Multiflora Rose

Multiflora rose has stiffed, curved thorns that
usually are in pairs and break off easily
Multiflora rose has long been a thorn in the side of Illinois landowners. This invader is better known for its damage to fields and pastures but also can be a problem in woods.

While this plant doesn’t turn a noticeable color, it does usually retain a few green leaves into late fall. The stiff, curved thorns occur along the stem usually in pairs that break off easily.

The stems of multiflora rose are round (compared to the square stems of blackberries) with the smaller stems being green or sometimes reddish with the larger stems having brownish rough bark.


While there are many more invasive species that can be identified in the fall, the species listed above are four of the biggest threats to forests in Illinois.

Controlling these, and other woody invasive plants, in the fall or winter is often best done using either a cut stump or basal bark application of herbicide.

There are some times when you can apply the herbicides to the foliage and some non-chemical methods of control (both of which are discussed in the webinar listed at the beginning of this article).

The advantage of using a cut stump or basal bark treatment is that the method and herbicides recommended works for all of these species, giving a landowner the option of treating more than one species without needed to change equipment or remix herbicides.

For any herbicide application, it is required that the entire label be read and followed including what type of safety equipment is needed to mix or apply.

Cut Stump

Typically, cut stump treatments of woody invasive plants utilize either glyphosate- or triclopyr- based herbicides. Examples of a glyphosate-based herbicide would be RoundUp, though there are many generics available as well. Examples of triclopyr-based herbicides are Garlon (both 3a and 4), Crossroad (mixed with 2,4-d), and Ortho Brush-B-Gone.

Since these herbicides come in many different formulations and strengths, it is crucial that the label be consulted for the specific herbicide used to determine the correct mixing rates and instructions before use.

A ready-to-use premixed formulation of triclopyr, called Pathfinder II, is effective both for cut stump and basal bark and does not need mixing (though shouldn’t be used in temperatures below 30 degrees).

Cut stump treatments are basically just what they sound like. Cut down the plant near the ground (within 6 inches, but not so close that dirt gets on the cut surface) and treat the cut surface with herbicide.

Typical rates would be a 50% solution of glyphosate mixed with water or a 20% solution of triclopyr mixed with water (for amine formulations like Garlin 3a) or oil (for ester formulations like Garlon 4). Oil used can be a commercially available basal oil (like Bark Oil Blue or AX-IT) or a seed or crop oil.

Adding some herbicide dye into the mixture will help you keep track of what has been treated and avoid misses.

Herbicide dye makes tracking treatments easier
(photo by Jim Miller,
It is important to treat the stumps soon after cutting (ideally within 15 minutes) for best results.

For small stems (less than 2-inch diameter) then treat the entire cut surface just to the point that the herbicide is starting to run down the sides. For larger stems, only the out one inch of the cut surface needs to be treated.

A simple hand-pump spray bottle is a great
tool to use when conducting cut stump
If you are using a solution mixed with water, only use this method if temperatures are above freezing. Cold temperature can freeze the mixture and prevent it from working. Oil-based solutions can be utilized anytime throughout the fall and winter up until the plants start breaking buds in late winter /early spring.

A simple hand-pump spray bottle works great for cut stump treatments but the herbicide can also be applied with a sponge or paint brush.

Basal Bark

It is recommended that an ester-based triclopyr herbicide (for example – Garlon 4 or Crossroad) in oil is used for basal bark treatments. Typical rates would be a 20% solution, though be sure to check label information for the herbicide to be used for specific recommendations. Water-based herbicide mixtures are not effective using this method.

As with cut stump, Pathfinder II is a ready-to-use formulation of triclopyr that can be used for this method. Basal bark is similar to cut stump, but removes the necessity of cutting down the plant first.

Instead, the herbicide is applied directly to the all sides of the bark of the plant from ground level to 12-16 inches high. For multi-stemmed shrubs, all of the stems need to be treated.

This method does use somewhat more herbicide than cut stump but is quicker to apply.

Multi-stemmed shrubs need to have all stems
treated for a basal bark application to be effective
(photo courtesy of Dow Agrosciences)
Because of the higher volume of herbicide needed, a backpack sprayer is the ideal equipment for this method. Hand-carried pressure sprayers or ATV or vehicle-mounted spray rigs can also be used if access allows. As with cut stump, mixing in herbicide dye is a good idea to track treatments.

Basal bark can be used throughout the fall and winter. Heavy snow cover seems to reduce effectiveness as do wet – or silt-covered stems.

Don’t be alarmed if the plants treated in the dormant season using basal bark leaf out in the spring. This sometimes happens but usually the leaves will wilt and the plant will then die. Just keep an eye on the treated plants and be prepared to retreat if necessary.

Utilizing these tips for identifying and controlling woody invasive plants will hopefully allow landowners to better address invasive plants in their woods. Don’t expect to get rid of all of the invasives with just one round of treatments. Plan on eradication taking 3-5 years with the most of the work occurring in the first two years.

For information on invasive plants and management can be found in the Invasive Plant section of the IFA website and on