Early Detection Combats Weed Invaders

Managing invasive weeds is a lot like planning a military defense.Early Detection and Rapid Response brochure

It’s easier to defeat a small number of invaders than a large army. It’s easier to respond to a limited incursion than fight a multi-front battle. And having an early warning system can make all the difference.

In the fight against invasive weeds in Montana, early detection and rapid response is a key strategy for keeping some of the West’s worst weeds from gaining a foothold in the state.

“Early detection and rapid response is a really critical part of pest management,” explained Jane Mangold, an extension invasive plant specialist at Montana State University. “It’s also a tool weed managers can easily share with the general public.”

Using funding from the Western IPM Center, Mangold recently published a brochure to help weed managers to do just that. Titled “Early Detection and Rapid Response to New Plant Invaders,” the brochure explains when early detection is an effective option and what the general public can do to help in the battle.

“It’s really pretty simple,” Mangold said. “People need to learn to identify invasive weeds, look for them when they’re out doing the things they regularly do like hiking, camping or driving, and then tell someone when they think they’ve spotted one.”

The brochure helps the process by including photos of three of the highest-priority species weed managers worry about: yellow starthistle, dyer’s woad and rush skelentonweed.

“There are eight or 10 species in Montana we consider high priority, but didn’t have room to include all of them in the brochure,” Mangold said. “We highlighted these three because they’re the most important across the entire state.”

The brochure also lets people know who to tell - listing several online, telephone and mobile app resources people can use to report invasive weed sightings.

The brochure is available for free on the Montana State University Extension online store. Download it here.