Cut-stem treatments using graminicides for burmareed (Neyraudia reynaudiana) invasions in pine rocklands, south Florida, USA.
Burmareed [Neyraudia reynaudiana (Kunth) Keng ex Hitchc.] is an aggressive invader of pine rockland communities in south Florida. Currently, it is managed by clipping the stems and later returning, when plants have regrown to approximately 50 cm in height, to administer applications of glyphosate to new foliar growth (a "cut-return-treat," or CRT, strategy). This multi-visit strategy is time-consuming and may result in off-target effects due to the broad-spectrum nature of glyphosate. With this study we evaluated a cut-stem (CS) approach, in which stems are cut and immediately treated with herbicide. Further, we tested the efficacy of the selective graminicides sethoxydim and fluazifop-P-butyl. In a pot study, CS treatments included: glyphosate (239.7 g ae L-1) in water, sethoxydim (9.0 g ai L-1) or fluazifop-P-butyl (12.1 g ai L-1) in either basal oil or water, and triclopyr (47.9 g ae L-1) in basal oil. All CS treatments provided mortality and growth reduction comparable to the best CRT treatments (glyphosate, sethoxydim, and fluazifop-P-butyl) and were therefore evaluated under field conditions using the same application rates. Mortality was low in the field (≤30%) regardless of herbicide treatment. Overall, fluazifop-P-butyl provided greater control than sethoxydim, resulting in 71% and 94% relative growth reduction in total shoot length with oil and water carriers, respectively, compared with 50% and 43% reduction for sethoxydim. Fluazifop also provided control similar to triclopyr and glyphosate (≥65% reduction in total shoot length). Results suggest that CS treatments may be a viable strategy for managing N. reynaudiana and reducing management costs. However, more research is needed to optimize rates. Further, fluazifop-P-butyl allows for a more selective option than glyphosate that may decrease off-target effects on native understory vegetation in pine rocklands.