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Team declares success with leafy spurge control

A group of researchers and land managers who created a team effort to control leafy spurge in the U.S. have claimed a victory in controlling a species that had been regarded as "the most feared land invader in the West."

The Team Leafy Spurge effort was launched in 1997 as a USDA pest management research and demonstration program. The group developed a set of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies for controlling the widespread invasive weed. Practices being used by ranchers and other land managers include biological pest controls, herbicide use, and multi-species grazing management.

In five years, the research and demonstration program "helped reduce the size of the leafy spurge infestation by 75% of what it would have been today," according to the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research.

Team Leafy Spurge has involved a mix of USDA agencies, as well as land grant universities, state agencies, county weed managers, and landowners. This week the group is conducting a seminar on the program in Washington, D.C., to help launch National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Seminar presentations are available through the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research.  

The Team Leafy Spurge website hosts an array of information on controlling the noxious weed. 

Photograph: Team Leafy Spurge

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