Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Review of existing knowledge and practices of tarping for the control of invasive knotweeds.

Abstract

Managing invasive exotic plant species is a complex challenge, especially for Asian knotweeds (Reynoutria spp.). Tarping is a regularly cited but poorly documented control method, which consists of covering the ground with a tarp (agricultural tarp, geotextile, geomembrane, etc.) to create a physical barrier to hinder plant growth and deprive the plants of light in order to deplete their rhizomatous reserves. To improve our knowledge of tarping in order to identify the key factors of its success or failure, we reviewed the relevant grey and scientific literature and conducted an international survey among managers to collect feedback on tarping experiments. In the literature, as well as in the field, practices are quite heterogeneous, and the method's effectiveness is highly contrasted. A better consideration of knotweed biology may improve the efficacy of the method. Based on the bibliography and survey work, we propose practical recommendations including covering the entire stand, extending the tarping up to 2.5 m beyond its edges for a period of at least six years, and ensuring regular monitoring. Even though tarping does not seem to be a one-size-fits-all solution to eradicate knotweed, it could still be a useful control method once knotweed has become a critical management issue.