The east-west density gradient and the pattern and mode of migration of the wetland exotic, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.), were assessed in a survey of populations along the New York State Thruway from Albany to Buffalo to determine if the highway corridor contributed to the spread of this species. During the peak flowering season of late July to early August, individual colonies of purple loosestrife were identified and categorized into three size classes in parallel belt transects consisting of the median strip and highway rights-of-way on the north and south sides of the road. Data were also collected on the presence of colonies adjacent to the corridor and on highway drainage patterns. Although a distinct east-west density gradient existed in the corridor, it corresponded to the gradient on adjacent lands and was greatly influenced by a major infestation at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. The disturbed highway corridor served as a migration route for purple loosestrife, but topographic features dictated that this migration was a short-distance rather than long-distance process. Ditch and culvert drainage patterns increased the ability of purple loosestrife to migrate to new wetland sites. Management strategies proposed to reduce the spread of this wetland threat include minimizing disturbance, pulling by hand, spraying with glyphosate, disking, and mowing.
Additional publication details
Migration and control of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.) along highway corridors