Integrating Selective Herbicide and Native Plant Restoration to Control Alternanthera philoxeroides (Alligator Weed) Page: 5
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sedimentation, and impede navigation and recreation (Holm et al. 1997). Like many exotic
invasive weeds, A. philoxeroides is often able to out-compete and replace native plant
communities. Vogt et al. (1992) reported un-contested spread of A. philoxeroides mats in the
southern Mississippi valley prior to introduction of biocontrol agents. Floating mats of A.
philoxeroides can restrict light penetration to the water below, effectively starving other
submerged plants and reducing oxygen levels (Quimby and Kay 1976).
Effective management options for A. philoxeroides invasions are limited. Mechanical
harvesting or tilling can be used for temporary control, but the plant is capable of rapid re-growth
after disturbance, and dislodged fragments may increase the extent of invasion if allowed to
disperse and colonize new territory (Vogt et al. 1992, Wilson et al. 2007). Biological control
options exist, but effectiveness is dependent on target area climate and A. philoxeroides growth
form. The alligator weed flea-beetle, Agasicles hygrophila, and the alligator weed stem borer,
Vogtia mallo, were first released in the southern United States by the USDA in 1964 and 1971
respectively (Sainty et al. 1998). These insects can cause significant damage to floating A.
philoxeroides mats, but do not populate terrestrial infestations and are not tolerant of the cooler
climate associated with the northern range of A. philoxeroides in the United States (Julien et al.
1995). Research into other possible biological control candidates is ongoing (Julien et al. 2004).
A. philoxeroides is a difficult plant to control chemically; numerous attempts at control
with various herbicides, application frequencies, and applications timings have been attempted.
Typically, only partial control is achieved. Leaves and stems are damaged, but re-growth
generally occurs. Bowmer et al. (1993) reported that only 7% of glyphosate herbicide applied to
A. philoxeroides via foliar treatment reached underground organs. Tucker et al. (1994) found
better herbicide transport to roots with imazapyr than glyphosate, but field studies involving
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Adams, Justin. Integrating Selective Herbicide and Native Plant Restoration to Control Alternanthera philoxeroides (Alligator Weed), thesis, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103280/m1/12/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .