Baby's breath (Gypsophila paniculata L.) is an invasive species in Michigan's northern lower peninsula and is a problem in much of northern North America. It is of particular concern in coastal dune habitats of northwest Michigan, because the areas where it is most dense are also populated by several endemic and threatened species. Current removal methods include manual removal with a spade and directed spray-to-wet foliar application of glyphosate to individual plants using backpack sprayers. We assessed these methods by measuring G. paniculata density and presence–absence frequency before and after treatment using a point-intercept grid, establishing how type and timing of treatment within the growing season influences treatment efficacy and determining the proportion of plants that resprout after treatment. Our results show a consistent reduction in G. paniculata density after treatment with herbicide or manual removal (P < 0.001) but minimal impact on presence–absence frequency. These results indicate a need for quantitative data in the assessment of management efficacy to show a clearer picture of density reduction when extirpation is no longer a viable outcome of management. Through the assessment of treatment timing of manual removal and glyphosate treatments over time, we found no evidence that either treatment type was effective at reducing density when applied before plants flowered, but there was evidence that both treatments were effective when applied later in the growing season when plants were flowering. Resprouting of marked plants occurred in 14% of manually removed plants and 2% of herbicide-treated plants. Our results suggest that managers should treat G. paniculata infestations for consecutive years to remove regrowth and focus treatment during flowering for best control.
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