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Title: Last line of defense: fire breaks for Japanese climbing fern control

Background: Landowners and land managers need more information about strategies to attempt to control Japanese climbing fern (JCF) (Lygodium japonicum). JCF is becoming a silent threat that is creeping across our stands and often going unnoticed until it begins growing vertically. We are finding JCF in almost every timber stand at the Dixon Center. Our staff is actively trying to treat areas and develop a strategy for the property by selecting stands with heavy Japanese climbing fern infestations and trying to treat these sites. A large part of the monitoring and treatment strategy has involved roads and fire breaks. Fire breaks are plowed and refreshed on a periodic basis as part of our prescribed fire program. Whenever possible, we try to utilize natural fire breaks, wet areas, and limit soil disturbance. With over 40 miles of firebreaks and roads, these areas provide an open seedbed for JCF and are a conduit for the spread. Attempts have been made to treat fire breaks to contain JCF from growing vertical and spreading to other stands. Once the fire breaks around a stand are treated by backpack sprayers or an all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) tow-behind sprayer, JCF is then treated within the stand with spot treatments from back pack sprayers.

Expected Outcomes: This effort will focus on demonstrations of fire break and stand treatments, which will include photograph points, videos, and manager notes that will be completed before, during, and after the treatments to provide users with the full documentation of the application throughout the process. These materials and the associated webinar provide information about JCF, highlight the biology, and offer examples of the attempts to treat and monitor JCF at the Dixon Center.

Funding provided by:

The Alabama Invasive Plant Council

Links for more information:

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council

Alabama Invasive Plant Council 

BUGWOOD Wiki

Biology and Control of Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum) Minogue et al 2016

Demonstration photos can be accessed online via the SDFEC gallery at Flickr.com.

Webinar will be available soon.