Cultural Control of  saltcedar (tamarisk)

Sheep: This is a pretty effective method.  It is much like the goat and the grazing methods.  This method is where you cage in a your sheep around the saltceder and you let them graze until they will no longer graze on the weed.  You then need to move them to another area and let them graze there.  After a few weeks put them back in the starting area and let them graze it again.  The plant can also develop thistles around the flower heads to stop the grazing of the flower head and this causes the sheep to eat the competitors around the plant instead, thus increasing its chance for new growth of the noxious weed. (1)
Goats:  Can effectively control this noxious weed.  These creatures can also harm the control and cause the weed to over seed if the goats over graze them.  When grazing with goats you need to monitor the grazing and only let them graze for a certain amount of time or you will get overgrazing.  This is a very mutual way of control because if you know what you are doing then you can control it but if you do not then you can do more harm than good. (1)
Tilling (Plowing): This is a method that can be used along roadsides, in a field, or it can be used when you are cultivating.  This is the method of cutting up and covering the plant parts.  You need to continue to till the ground for a few years to have an effective decrease with tamarix, or saltceder.  This is not a very effective way of control because it normally buries the seeds and the root fragments and causes the seeds to sprout and grow vigorously. (1)
Hand Pulling and Hoeing: This is the oldest form of weed control.  This doesn't have a large environmental impact if any.  When the soil is disturbed then it leaves an open space for the weed to come back or another weed to take its place.  The risk for infection occurs if you do not wear the proper safety equipment.  This is due to the fact that the weed can have small thistles and can cause an infection to grow if you puncture the skin. (1)
Controlled Burning: There are a few bad things about burning.  The first is the chemicals or the toxins that are released off of the plant as it burns.  This can be minimized by not burning until you absolutely have to.  The second is the control of the fire.  Be sure to make a completely safe environment to burn in.  The last way is the impact that the fire can have on the biocontrol insects that are feeding off of the plant.  This is a pretty effective way though.  You just have to be sure that you are burning on a regular bases so that you control the plant.  This is a very effective control. (1)
Seeding/Reseeding: If you plant a competitive plant with a noxious weed then it can take over but it is not likely.  This is not a very effective way of control because the noxious weed is probably going to be more competitive than the plant that you planted therefore causing the noxious weed to take over instead of the plant. However, you should always reseed after you disturb the soil. (1) 
Watering: Watering, since this plant is a water loving plant already, does not usually work. (1)
Chaining or bulldozing: This method is used to help grow grass again in an area that has been taken over by shrubs or small trees.  It is done with a large bulldozer that removes the larger plants such as saltceder.  This is an okay way of control but, because it creates large holes in the ground this can increase the risk of another noxious weed to grow.  (1)
Grazing Methods:  This can be effective.  This also has to do with proper timing.  Over grazing can lead to the invasion of weeds.  In order to prevent this from occurring you need to monitor the cattle and let them graze for certain amounts of time and then move then to a new location repeating this grazing occasionally.  This means that if the cattle eat too much of the tamarix to fast that the plant will feel as if it were being attacked and at will rapidly produce more seeds to cause the population to increase.  Also, over grazing decreases competition from native plants and allows the weed to flourish. (1)
Mowing:  This is used along highways and in recreational areas.  Be sure to mow often and before plant goes to seed or the weed problem is going to increase.  Also, be careful not to damage the biocontrol insect population. (1)

10 links:                                                                                              

Literature cited:
1. DiTomaso M. Joseph, California Exotic Pest Plant council [Online], Available,

By: Cindy Lofftus  3/21/02
Back to Cultural Control HOME