The purple/pink blossoming spikes of Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) are so beautiful this time of year that I wish this plant could be native to our area. Those responsible for its intentional introduction felt the same way. In Europe and Asia, purple loosestrife’s native homeland, specialized insects and disease control its spread. But purple loosestrife is not a native plant to North America and thus there are no native predators to keep this plant from invading and damaging our wetland areas. Biological control of purple loosestrife has been used with great success in some locations as detailed in this article from the Minnesota DNR and Dept. of Ag: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquaticplants/purpleloosestrife/biocontrol.html
Step 1. Correct plant ID
Step 2. Find the stem base
I flatten down the grasses immediately surrounding the stem for better access to the base of the purple loosestrife stem. Cutting the stem close to ground level will allow the follow on herbicide treatment to be most effective.
Use a sharp hand pruner to cut the fibrous purple loosestrife stem just above ground level.
Step 4.Apply herbicide to the freshly cut stump
* If you are near water, use an aquatic from of glyphosate such as the brand name Rodeo.
Until next time, get outside and go native.