Tests of hexazinone and tebuthiuron for control of exotic plants in Kauai, Hawaii.
Non-native plant species have become serious pests in Hawaii's delicate island ecosystems. It is necessary to control invasive plants. The herbicides hexazinone and tebuthiuron were evaluated for defoliation efficacy to control several major invasive plants and for non-target effects on native plants at Site I in a rainforest at 1200 m elevation and Site II in a mesic area at 640 m elevation on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The invasive weed species in the sites included daisy fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus DC.), faya tree (Myrica faya Ait.), strawberry guava (Psidium cattleyanum Sabine), banana passion fruit (Passiflora mollissima Bailey), vaseygrass (Paspalum urvillei Steud.), and highbush blackberry (Rubus argutus Link. 1822). Native plants included ohia lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha Gaudich.), naupaka (Scaevola cerasifolia Labill.), pilo (Hedyotis mannii), hona (Urera glabra (Hook. & Arn.)), aalii (Dodonaea viscosa Jacq.), and amau (Sadleria sp.). The results showed that broadcast applications of hexazinone granules and tebuthiuron pellets were effective on some of those invasive species. Herbicidal tolerance varied among the native species. For example, D. viscosa showed high tolerance to hexazinone. S. cerasifolia was susceptible to hexazinone, but not to tebuthiuron. The inconsistent defoliation of Sadleria sp. occurred among different applications rates of the two herbicides. M. polymorpha, particularly when it was small, could tolerate hexazinone and tebuthiuron. U. glabra was severely injured by the two herbicides. H. mannii was moderately tolerant to hexazinone, but fairly sensitive to tebuthiuron. The invasive loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) was highly tolerant to hexazinone, but was very sensitive to tebuthiuron. M. faya was very sensitive to hexazinone, but very tolerant to tebuthiuron. P. cattleyanum was sensitive to both herbicides. Six and nine months after hexazinone and tebuthiuron treatment, respectively, native plants were transplanted into the Sites to observe injury from residual herbicides. Approximately less than 10% mortality was observed for the out-planted native species three months after planting (MAP), indicating that the native species showed less injury in the early period of transplant. The mortality of the three endangered species Kauai hau kuahiwi (Hibiscadelphis distans), Kauai delissea (Delissea rhytidosperma H. Mann) and kawawaenohu (Alsinidendron lynchnoides), however, increased as the MAP increased. Overall, broadcast treatments of hexazinone and tebuthiuron at rates higher than 1 kg active ingredient per hectare would be problematic. The dissipation half-life values of hexazinone and tebuthiuron in the 1-15 cm layer of soils at the two sites were approximately 7 days and greater than 180 days, respectively.