This article was written by Darin Sloan on behalf of DuPont Land Management
Integrated vegetation management (IVM) — a practice that promotes desirable, low-growing plant communities using a strategic mix of methods — helps maintain safe roadways while enhancing the natural beauty and habitat of roadside terrain.
Transitioning from conventional roadside maintenance to an IVM program takes time and careful planning, but the payback is significant: more efficient, long-term vegetation control that blends with the natural environment. Follow these tips to develop and implement an effective IVM plan.
1. Consider long-term goals, not quick fixes. Mowing or broadcast spraying may offer immediate results, but the job never ends. Adding selective herbicide treatments can release desirable species that provide cultural control and reduce equipment use, labor needs and maintenance over time.
2. Respect natural habitats. Consider the variety of ecosystems along the roadway, from streams and wetlands to public parks and wildlife and pollinator habitats. A successful IVM plan will manage the land to enhance its natural vitality.
3. Choose timing strategically. Take advantage of fall herbicide applications. Herbicides with effective residual activity can provide control of many winter annual weed species and may provide some grass suppression — giving roadsides a cleaner, lower-growing start in the spring.
4. Maximize crew safety and productivity. New herbicide technologies that offer long-lasting residual weed control can help reduce mowing cycles and keep crews off the road. And their low use rates mean less storage, hauling, measuring, mixing and cleanup.
5. Implement with care. If you partner with outside contractors, be sure they are trained in best-management practices, understand your strategy and share your vision.
6. Follow up. Regular touch-ups to control returning species are critical to long-term management. Over time, less vegetation management will be required as natural controls develop and desirable native plants flourish.
About the author: Darin Sloan is a portfolio manager for DuPont Land Management, where he oversees development of new herbicide products designed for vegetation management professionals, including the recent launch of DuPont™ PerspectiveTM, StreamlineTM and Viewpoint herbicides. Sloan joined DuPont in 1991 and has held various positions with DuPont in the sales and marketing of industrial herbicides. He holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Mississippi State University and an M.S. degree in industrial administration from Purdue University. For more information on DuPont’s latest products for selective roadside treatments, please visit landmanagement.dupont.com.