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- Author or Editor: Joseph W. Sigmon x
Herbicides that are labeled for aquatic use are often the foundation of aquatic vegetation management programs in the United States because many of these products, which are registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are effective, selective, and relatively inexpensive. Resource managers are interested in reducing the use of synthetic herbicides and are considering alternative methods for aquatic weed control. We evaluated the effects of acetic acid and d-limonene on growth of the invasive small floating species feathered mosquitofern (Azolla pinnata) and common salvinia (Salvinia minima), as well as on the native emergent wetland plants cattail (Typha latifolia) and gulf coast spikerush (Eleocharis cellulosa). Acetic acid and d-limonene (alone and in combination) were applied once as foliar treatments to healthy plants, which were grown for 8 weeks after treatment to allow for development of phytotoxicity symptoms. All experiments also included diquat dibromide at three concentrations as “industry-standard” treatments for comparison. A 0.22% concentration of diquat dibromide eliminated all vegetation of all species. Most single-product treatments provided good control of invasive feathered mosquitofern with acceptable levels of damage to native gulf coast spikerush, but only 15% and 20% d-limonene treatments were effective on invasive common salvinia and selective for native cattail. Some combinations of acetic acid and d-limonene provided acceptable control of both floating weeds and selectivity for gulf coast spikerush, but all mixes caused unacceptable levels of damage to cattail. Treating these small floating weeds with acetic acid and d-limonene instead of diquat dibromide would increase material costs by 15- to 27-fold. Although these natural products may be useful in some areas where synthetic herbicides are discouraged, they are unlikely to be affordable options for most resource managers.
The foundation of most aquatic weed management programs in Florida is synthetic herbicides because many of these U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)-registered products are effective, selective, and inexpensive compared with other strategies such as mechanical harvesting. However, stakeholders have expressed concern regarding their use and managers are interested in exploring alternative methods for aquatic weed control. To that end, we evaluated the efficacy, selectivity, and costs of the “natural” products acetic acid and d-limonene (alone and in combination with each other and citric acid) on the invasive floating plants waterhyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and waterlettuce (Pistia stratiotes), and the native emergent plants broadleaf sagittaria (Sagittaria latifolia) and pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata). These products, plus an industry-standard synthetic herbicide (diquat dibromide), were applied once as foliar treatments to healthy plants, which were grown out for 8 weeks after treatment to allow development of phytotoxicity symptoms. A 0.22% concentration of diquat dibromide eliminated all vegetation, but neither “natural” product alone provided acceptable (>80%) control of floating weeds, even when applied at the maximum concentrations under evaluation (20% acetic acid, 30% d-limonene). Citric acid (5% or 10%) had no effect on the activity of acetic acid or d-limonene, but some combinations of acetic acid and d-limonene controlled floating weeds effectively without causing unacceptable damage to native plants. However, these treatments are much more expensive than the synthetic standard and managers would realize a 22- to 26-fold increase in product cost alone without factoring in other expenses such as additional labor and application time. Combinations of acetic acid and d-limonene may have utility in some areas where the use of synthetic herbicides is discouraged, but broad-scale deployment of this strategy would likely be prohibitively expensive.
Most lake, canal, and pond management programs in the United States use herbicides labeled for aquatic use because many of these products, which are registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency, are relatively inexpensive and can effectively control undesirable plants without excessive damage to desirable species. Managers of these resources have expressed an interest in alternative methods for aquatic weed control that could reduce the use of traditional synthetic herbicides. We studied the effects of acetic acid and d-limonene on growth of the invasive aquatic species rotala (Rotala rotundifolia) and crested floatingheart (Nymphoides cristata), as well as on the native wetland plants spatterdock (Nuphar advena) and giant bulrush (Schoenoplectus californicus). We applied acetic acid and d-limonene (alone and in combination) once as foliar treatments to healthy plants, then grew out the plants for 8 weeks after treatment to observe damage resulting from treatments. We also evaluated diquat dibromide at three concentrations as “industry-standard” synthetic treatments for comparison. A 0.22% concentration of diquat dibromide eliminated most or all vegetation of rotala, crested floatingheart, and giant bulrush, but was much less damaging to spatterdock. Single-product applications of acetic acid or d-limonene had little effect on any of the four species evaluated. Some combinations of acetic acid and d-limonene provided acceptable control of rotala and selectivity on spatterdock and giant bulrush, but no treatments reduced crested floatingheart growth by more than 40%. Treating rotala with acetic acid and d-limonene instead of diquat dibromide would result in a 25-fold increase in material costs, which would make this option unaffordable for most aquatic system managers.