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Invasive Plant Control – Russian Knapweed

By on July 10, 2023 in News

Ojai Meadows Preserve (Partial Closure) – July 11, 2023 to July 14,2023

Invasive plant management is an essential pillar of restoration. Without the removal of noxious weeds, creating space for diverse flora and fauna is impossible. There are many methods of managing invasive plants, all of which OVLC has utilized according to the nuances of each plant and the condition of the site.

Russian knapweed (Rhaponticum repens) is a noxious plant that has established itself at the Ojai Meadows Preserve over the past 20 years. According to the California Invasive Plant Council, it is poisonous to most animals and has allelopathic properties. This means that it prevents all other plants from growing around it – it does this by pulling toxins from the soil and concentrating these toxins at the surface surrounding it. The plant spreads through its rhizomes, creeping roots that grow in a complex matrix under the soil. These extensive roots are able to tap into deep pockets of groundwater – and as the population takes over an area, it creates its own cone of depression, sucking groundwater from far below the root systems of our native species. This story is well documented throughout the western United States, as fields of this competitive plant have dominated acres, making them inhabitable to plants and animals.

OVLC has worked tirelessly to control the spread of this population, using a wide range of control methods over the years. We have physically removed the population every year to no avail – despite constant battles of hand pulling, weed whacking, and sheet mulching, the Russian knapweed has continued to spread, encroaching on our restoration sites and invading the native plant nursery. After evaluating our efforts to control this noxious plant, we determined that we are barely making a dent in the population. As such, we have consulted with qualified biologists and determined the most effective treatment is to conduct a targeted treatment with herbicide. This treatment will take place at the Ojai Meadows Preserve on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. 

Russian Knapweed (Rhaponticum repens)

Learn More about Russian Knapweed

It is important to note that herbicide use in restoration is a target specific tool, not a blanket application. This decision was made after careful consideration after exhausting all other options, fully understanding the weight and effectiveness of this approach. Furthermore, the treatment has been scheduled during summer when school is not in session, and a licensed applicator and trained crew will be on scene to minimize adverse impacts and effectively control the noxious knapweed. 

For the safety of preserve users, the Lomita Ave. and Besant Rd. entrances to the Ojai Meadows Preserve will be closed until Friday, July 14. You can still access the eastern side of the preserve from the Maricopa Highway entrances.

We anticipate that one treatment will significantly reduce the population, we will continue monitoring the population for three years to assess the effectiveness to determine if re-treatments are necessary. Once the population is eradicated from the area, we will plant a diverse array of native plants that will restore the soil structure, increase water infiltration, provide seeds for nursery propagation, and provide habitat for hundreds of living beings.

Preserve users should plan to enter the preserve from the Highway 33 side or walk-in via El Camino Dr. Please do not park on El Camino Dr. if you plan to use the detour. Thank you

Have questions or concerns? Contact us at / (805) 649-6852

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There Are 7 Brilliant Comments

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  1. scott says:

    Very important! I will look this up on my own, but I want to point out that you’re included photo is not of good quality, and making it larger to look at it does not help with low resolution images. . I would in the future include high resolution photos so people can really see what they look like, so that we can remove them!

    thanks for all the great work you do

    • Nathan Wickstrum says:

      Hi Scott – Thank you for your feedback. We are currently in the midst of developing a new website. Our current site doesn’t display great on phones. The images are a moderately high quality. When you zoom in on them you should be able to see them clearly. Apologies for the inconvenience of having to zoom in.

  2. Linda Haque says:

    Thanks for all your work!
    1. I think it would be helpful if you labeled your photos
    2. showed a picture of the plant itself to help non-pros to id the targeted plant.
    3. don’t use center spacing as a comment form

    • Nathan Wickstrum says:

      Hi Linda, Thank you for your feedback. We’ve made some updates with your suggestions.

  3. Thanks for all your work!
    1. I think it would be helpful if you labeled your photos
    2. showed a picture of the plant itself to help non-pros to id the targeted plant.
    3. don’t use center spacing as a comment form

  4. G. Scott Miller says:

    Thank you for the thorough explanation of the impact of this plant and your efforts to eradicate it. This reminds me of the steps taken years ago to eliminate Arrunell from the rerouted stream adjacent to the Chandler Orchard Trail. I thought that would be impossible and was amazed at the successful efforts. I hope you have the same success eradicating Russian Knapweed from the Meadow.