2023 journal article

Performance of unoccupied aerial application systems for aquatic weed management: Two novel case studies

Weed Technology.

Source: ORCID
Added: May 22, 2023

Abstract Unoccupied aerial application systems (UAAS) are gaining popularity for weed management to increase applicator safety and to deliver herbicide treatments where treatment sites limit ground-based spray equipment. Several studies have documented UAAS application strategies and procedures for weed control in terrestrial settings, yet literature describing remote spray technology for use in aquatics remains limited. Currently, applicators seek guidance for UAAS deployment for aquatic weed management to overcome site access restrictions, deal with environmental limitations, and improve ground-based applicator safety in hazardous treatment scenarios. In the present case studies, we evaluate a consumer-available UAAS to deliver the herbicide, florpyrauxifen-benzyl, as both foliar and directed in-water spray applications. The first case study showed that the invasive floating-leaved plant, yellow floating heart, was controlled 80% to 99% by 6 wk after treatment (WAT) following UAAS foliar herbicide treatments. The second case study demonstrated that UAAS directed in-water herbicide application reduced variable-leaf watermilfoil visible plant material by 94% at 5 WAT. Likewise, directed in-water applications from UAAS eliminated the need to deploy watercraft, which improved overall operational efficiency. Data from both case studies indicate that UAAS can provide an effective and efficient treatment strategy for floating-leaved and submersed plant control among common herbicide treatment scenarios. Future integration of UAAS in aquatic weed control programs is encouraged, especially among smaller treatment sites (≤4 ha) or where access limits traditional spray operations.