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NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE
CONSERVATION PRACTICE STANDARD
HERBACEOUS WEED CONTROL
DEFINITION NRCS will not develop biological or chemical
treatment recommendations except for
The removal or control of herbaceous weeds biological control utilizing grazing animals.
including invasive, noxious and prohibited Prescribed Grazing (528) is used to ensure
plants. desired results are achieved and maintained.
NRCS may provide clients with acceptable
PURPOSE biological and/or chemical control references.
Enhance accessibility, quantity, and quality NRCS may provide clients with current
of forage and/or browse. acceptable references to achieve desired
Restore or release native or create desired management objectives.
plant communities and wildlife habitats When herbicides are used, environmental
consistent with the ecological site. hazards and site-specific application criteria
Protect soils and control erosion listed on pesticide labels and contained in
extension service and other approved pest
Reduce fine-fuels fire hazard and improve management references must be followed.
Herbaceous weed control will include post
treatment measures as needed to achieve
CONDITIONS WHERE PRACTICE APPLIES resource management objectives.
On all lands except active cropland where Livestock and people access will be controlled
removal reduction, or manipulation of based on management methods applied and
herbaceous vegetation is desired. restrictions as listed on the chemical labels.
This practice does not apply to removal of Manage and/or dispose of treated weed
herbaceous vegetation by prescribed fire (use species in a manner that will prevent the
Prescribed Burning - 338) or removal of spread of herbaceous weeds to new sites.
herbaceous vegetation to facilitate a land use
Additional Criteria to Enhance Accessibility,
change (use Land Clearing - 460).
Quantity, and Quality of Forage and/or
Herbaceous weed control will be applied in a
General Criteria Applicable to All Purposes manner to minimize negative impact to forage
Herbaceous weed control will be applied in a and/or other non targeted plants. Timing and
manner to achieve the desired control of the sequence of control shall be planned in
target species and protection of desired coordination with specifications developed for
species. This will be accomplished by Prescribed Grazing (528) or Forage Harvest
mechanical, chemical, burning or biological Management (511).
methods either alone or in combination. When
burning is used as a method, the Prescribed
Burning standard (338) will also be applied.
Conservation practice standards are reviewed periodically and updated if needed. To obtain NRCS, NHCP
the current version of this standard, contact your Natural Resources Conservation Service
State Office or visit the Field Office Technical Guide. April 2010
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to air resources, e.g., smoke, chemical drift
Additional Criteria to Restore or Release
Native or Create Desired Plant Communities
and Wildlife Habitats Consistent with the
Ecological Site CONSIDERATIONS
Apply herbaceous weed control in a manner to Consider using Integrated Pest Management
protect the health and vigor of native or desired (595) in support of herbaceous weed control.
plant species. Consider soil erosion potential and difficulty of
Use applicable Ecological Site Description vegetation establishment when choosing a
(ESD) State and Transition models, to develop method of control that causes soil disturbance.
specifications that are ecologically sound and Consider the appropriate time period for
defensible. Treatments must be congruent with treatment. Some herbaceous weed control
dynamics of the ecological site(s) and keyed to activities can be effective when applied within a
states and plant community phases that have single year; others may require multiple years
the potential and capability to support the of treatment(s) to achieve desired objectives.
desired plant community. If an ESD is not
available, base specifications on the best Consider impacts to wildlife species, in
approximation of the desired plant community general, treatments that create a mosaic
composition, structure, and function. pattern may be the most desirable.
Treatments will be conducted during periods of Consider impacts to wildlife food supplies,
the year when weed species are most space, and cover availability when planning the
vulnerable and will promote restoration of the method and amount of herbaceous weed
native or desired plant communities. control.
Apply herbaceous weed control in a manner State issued licenses may be required when
that maintain or enhance important wildlife using chemical pesticide treatments.
habitat requirements. For air quality purposes, consider using
Treatments will be conducted during periods of chemical methods of herbaceous weed control
the year that accommodate reproduction and that minimize chemical drift and excessive
other life-cycle requirements of target wildlife chemical usage and consider mechanical
and pollinator species. methods of herbaceous weed control that
minimize the entrainment of particulate matter.
Apply treatments that maintain or enhance
plant community composition and structure to Adjacent land uses must be considered before
meet the requirements of target wildlife chemicals are used.
PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS
Additional Criteria to Protect Soils and
Control Erosion Prepare plans and specifications for each field
Apply herbaceous weed control to minimize or treatment unit according to the criteria
soil disturbance and soil erosion. included in this standard. At a minimum, a
herbaceous weed control practice plan shall
Additional treatment will be applied to protect include:
soils and prevent erosion.
1. Goals and objectives statement.
Additional Criteria to Reduce Fine-Fuels
Fire Hazard and Improve Air Quality 2. Plan map and soil map for the site.
Treat weed species in a manner that creates a 3. Pre-treatment cover or density of the target
native or desired plant community which plant(s) and the planned post-treatment
reduces the potential for accumulating cover or density and desired efficacy.
excessive fuel loads and increased wildfire 4. Maps, drawings, and/or narratives detailing
hazards. or identifying areas to be treated, pattern of
Apply treatment methods in a manner that treatment (if applicable), and areas that will
minimize the potential for unintended impacts not be disturbed.
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5. A monitoring plan that identifies what shall Maximum allowable degree of use on
be measured (including timing and desirable non-target species
frequency) and the changes in the plant
community (compare with objectives) that Special mitigation, precautions, or
will be achieved. requirements associated with the selected
For Mechanical Treatment Methods. Plans
and specifications will include items 1 through
5 above, plus the following: OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
Operation. Herbaceous weed control
Type of equipment to use for management practices shall be applied using approved
Dates of treatment for effective materials and procedures. Operations will
management. comply with all local, state, and federal laws
Operating instructions (if applicable)
Success of the practice shall be determined by
Techniques and procedures to be followed. evaluating regrowth or reoccurrence of target
species after sufficient time has passed to
For Chemical Treatment Methods. Plans monitor the situation and gather reliable data.
and specifications will include items 1 through Length of evaluation periods will depend on the
5, above, plus the following: herbaceous weeds species being monitored,
proximity of propagules (seeds, plant materials
Acceptable chemical treatment references and roots) to the site, transport mode of seeds
for containment and management of target (wind or animals) and methods and materials
Document techniques to be used, planned The operator will develop a safety plan for
dates and rates of application individuals exposed to chemicals, including
telephone numbers and addresses of
Evaluation and interpretation of herbicide emergency treatment centers and the
risks associated with the selected telephone number for the nearest poison
treatment(s) using WIN-PST or other control center. The National Pesticide
approved tools. Information Center (NPIC) telephone number
Any special mitigation, timing considerations in Corvallis, Oregon, may also be given for
or other factors (such as soil texture and non-emergency information: 1-800-858-7384
organic matter content) that must be
Monday to Friday
considered to ensure the safest, most
effective application of the herbicide 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time
Reference to product label instructions The national Chemical Transportation
Emergency Center (CHEMTRAC) telephone
For Biological Treatment Methods. Plans number is: 1-800-424-9300
and specifications will include items 1 through
5, above, plus the following: Follow label requirements for mixing/loading
setbacks from wells, intermittent streams
Acceptable biological treatment references and rivers, natural or impounded ponds and
for the selected biological agent used to lakes, and reservoirs.
contain and manage the target species Post signs, according to label directions
Document release date, kind, and number of and/or federal, state, tribal, and local laws,
agents around fields that have been treated. Follow
restricted entry intervals.
Timing, frequency, duration and intensity of
grazing or browsing Dispose of herbicide and herbicide
containers in accordance with label
Desired degree of grazing or browsing use directions and adhere to federal, state, tribal,
for effective management of target species
and local regulations.
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Read and follow label directions and Cheney, M. Common poisonous plants of
maintain appropriate Material Safety Data western Washington which affect livestock.
Sheets (MSDS). MSDS and herbicide labels [Online] Available at
may be accessed on the Internet at: http://www.piercecountycd.org/tip_toxicplnts_p.html.
http://www.greenbook.net/ (Accessed 15 October 2008).
Calibrate application equipment according to Ciba-Geigy Corp. Plants that poison livestock:
recommendations before each seasonal use Information chart.
and with each major chemical and site Cornell University Department of Animal
change. Science. Plants Poisonous to Livestock and
Other Animals. [Online]. Available at:
Replace worn nozzle tips, cracked hoses,
and faulty gauges on spray equipment.
DeWolf , G. and M. Hondalus. 1988. Common
Maintain records of plant management for at Massachusetts plants poisonous to horses.
least two years. herbicide application University of Massachusetts Cooperative
records shall be in accordance with USDA Extension Service, Amherst, MA.
Agricultural Marketing Service’s Pesticide
Recordkeeping Program and state-specific Ensminger, M.E. 1992. The stockman’s
requirements. handbook. (7th Ed.) The Interstate Printers
and Publishers, Inc. Danville, Il.
Maintenance. Following initial application, Evers, R.A., and R.P. Link. 1972. Poison
some regrowth, resprouting, or reoccurrence of plants of the Midwest and their effects on
herbaceous weeds may be expected. Spot livestock. Special Publication 24, University of
treatment of individual plants or areas needing Illinois – College of Agriculture, Urbana, Il.
re-treatment should be completed as needed
Hamilton, G.W., and J.R. Mitchell. 2001.
when weed vegetation is most vulnerable to
[Online] Poisonous plants in pastures. Univ. of
desired treatment procedures.
New Hampshire Coop. Ext. Serv., Durham,
Review and update the plan periodically in NH. Available at
order to incorporate new IPM technology; http://extension.unh.edu/resources/representation/Resour
response to grazing management and complex ce000623_Rep645.pdf. (Accessed 15 October
weed population changes; and avoid the 2008).
development of weed resistance to herbicide Hill, R.J., and D. Folland. 1986. Poisonous
chemicals. plants of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania
Department of Agriculture, Harrisburg, PA.
REFERENCES Reed, C.F. 1970. Selected weeds of the
Alex, J.F., and C.M. Switer. 1982. Ontario United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 366,
weeds. Publ. 505, University of Guelph – U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington,
Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph, Ontario, D.C.
Canada. USDA-ARS. 2006. Bulletin 415 - Plants
American Sheep Industry, A. Peischel and D.D. poisonous to livestock in the Western states.
Henry, Jr., 2006. Targeted Grazing: a Natural [Online]. Available at
Approach to Vegetation Management and
(Updated 08 February 2006, accessed 15