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                                 CONSERVATION PRACTICE STANDARD

                                HERBACEOUS WEED CONTROL

                                                       CODE 315

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.
    air quality
                                                                   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.

April 2010
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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
                                                  and ordinances.
 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
  species                                         used.

 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.

                                                                                  NHCP, NRCS
                                                                                      April 2010
315 - 4

 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:                          (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;
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
Landscape Enhancement.
                                                  October 2008).

April 2010

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