Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) is a native to Wisconsin but is considered weedy because of its aggressive, rhizotamous growth. Where these rhizomes root a new plant (aka clone) forms, which can be up to a yard from the original plant (aka parent plant). This is advantageous for expanding existing clones while seeds establish new colonies. Clonal plants have extreme longevity (D&H) with some living 100 years (Kabuce and Priede, 2010).
Disturbances and Canada goldenrod
Disturbances, such as fire, increase Canada goldenrod (Coladonata, 1993). This occurs in the same biological manner as resprouting woodies and other apically dominant plants. We learned it takes a year or two of no disturbance (fire/mow/graze) to allow the overseeding (or native plants surrounding it to grow in) to grow and outcompete. If you need to create a disturbance in that area, wait until the following year to treat goldenrod.
Effective Methods for Small Areas
In 2013, I posted a method for effectively treating Canada goldenrod to minimize it in native plantings. In 2014, I posted a follow up showing how effective this method is. Every year, we work to mitigate this plant’s dominance and each year, we learn something new and/or develop new techniques. As we learn, we’ll continue posting here.
Non Blooming Plant Treatment
For those stems that aren’t bloomed, the dabbing method doesn’t work and they will grow out in a few years. We have learned to carry a small spray bottle and spritz those. Using the paint brush as described in the 2013 post does not work for these non-blooming, first-year plants.
We discovered hooking this coffee can to our belts with the clippers on them is an efficient and handy way to carry a spray bottle of herbicide. We drill holes in the coffee can and use zip ties to secure it to the belt. It keeps the bottle upright and within easy reach.
Half of restoration work is managing expectations! This is not a one and done treatment. There will always be the one missed stem that creates another clone and the ever present seeds that blow in and germinate. Yet, there is good news! We have increased diversity in the areas we mitigate Canada goldenrod.
- Coladonato M, 1993. Solidago canadensis. Fire Effects Information System. Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, USA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.
- Douhovnikoff, Vladimir and Eric L.G. Hazelton. 2014. Clonal growth: invasion or stability? American Journal of Botany 101(9): 1577-1584.
- Kabuce N; Priede N, 2010. NOBANIS – Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet – Solidago canadensis., USA: NOBANIS, 10 pp.