Effectiveness of Control Treatments on Young Saitcedar (Tamarix spp.) Plants

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Preventing the establishment of saltcedar in new areas requires early detection and rapid response. However, it is unclear when saltcedar develops perennating tissue and which treatments are most efficacious for young plants. The effectiveness of mowing, herbicide, and fire treatments, alone and in combination, was evaluated on saltcedar plants grown from seed to 4, 8, and 12 wk age in 2011 and 6 and 12 wk age in 2012. Plants were clipped to 2 cm height or remained intact. Plants were then exposed to no treatment (control), herbicide application (0.12 mg ae imazapyr), or treated with fire for 30 or 60 s. Six weeks after treatment, plant survival and tallest living shoot height were recorded and roots were dried and weighed for biomass comparison. Saltcedar survival increased with greater plant age. No 4-wk-old plants survived herbicide or fire treatments, whereas 6-wk-old plants were eliminated by fire. Clipping alone did not control plants of any age but clipping before fire was the most effective control for older plants. Herbicide alone did not kill 8- and 12-wk-old plants during the study period, but reduced plant vigor suggests that these applications may be effective in the long-term. Fire alone for 60 s was the most effective single treatment for 12-wk-old plants. Root biomass was reduced for all treatments relative to untreated plants with the lowest biomass typically associated with fire treatments. Resprouts were shortest for combined clipping and herbicide and clipping and fire treatments. Results indicate that saltcedar grown from seed can develop viable belowground reproductive tissues between 6 and 8 wk after germination. Multiple intensive control practices may be required to kill saltcedar plants ≥8 wk of age, whereas younger plants can be controlled by single, less-intensive treatments such as fire.

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Invasive Plant Science and Management





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Cambridge University Press