Increasing Effectiveness of Phragmites Eradication Efforts with Improved Application Technology

Increasing Effectiveness of Phragmites Eradication Efforts with Improved Application Technology (ADV)
Mark Ledebuhr, Application Insight Consulting, LLC; Phyllis Higman, Michigan Natural Features Inventory

Novel herbicide application methods have the potential to increase the effectiveness of invasive Phragmites eradication efforts relative to traditional methods. Identifying and understanding these innovative application technologies may bring new and possibly more effective tools to the Phrag control community with the potential to reduce both overall costs and impact. To assess where improvements are most needed, a survey open to any individual involved in Phragmites control efforts was conducted and the responses of approximately 300 recipients demonstrate there is much room for increasing efficacy and a high demand for better information. Insights from this survey will be briefly discussed. With guidance from the survey, four technology variations were identified as candidates. In the field, each candidate showed improvement in field capacity, efficacy, a reduction in off-target impacts, or combinations thereof. These insights and findings will be discussed, with a focus on actionable information for the upcoming field season.

Mark Ledebuhr, Application Insight, LLC
Mark's career focuses on developing and optimizing pesticide spray application systems, primarily for foliar applications. He also focuses on developing and improving methods for evaluation of spray application. Mark works collaboratively with hardware and chemical manufacturers, universities, state and federal government agencies, and private growers worldwide. Trained as a wildlife biologist at Michigan State University (MSU), he co-founded and built an MSU technology spinoff company focused on products that improve the application of pesticides, thereby reducing their environmental impacts. After 15 years, he left it to re-focus on methodologies and analytics. He finds the difficulties encountered in invasive species control to be a spectacular challenge and a great opportunity for meaningful improvement! Mark is also the stewardship chair at the Fenner Conservancy in Lansing, MI. Volunteering at stewardship allows him to practice his professional skills from his "day job," keep his botanical skills honed and (best of all!) meet lots of great people.