Invasive Plant Management: Prevention

The most effective, economical, and ecologically sound approach to managing invasive plants is to prevent them from invading in the first place. Land managers often concentrate on fighting well-established infestations, at which point management is expensive and eradication is unlikely. Infestations must be managed to limit the spread of invasive plants, but weed management that controls existing infestations while focusing on prevention and early detection of new invasions can be far more cost-effective.

Invasive plant prevention depends on:

  • Limiting the introduction of invasive plant seeds
  • Early detection and eradication of small patches of invasive plants
  • Minimizing the disturbance of desirable plants along trails, roads, and waterways
  • Maintaining desired plant communities through good management
  • Monitoring high-risk areas such as transportation corridors and bare ground
  • Revegetating disturbed sites with desired plants
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of prevention efforts and adapting plans for the following year.

″Even the best prevention efforts cannot stop all introductions. Early detection of incipient invasions and quick, coordinated responses are needed to eradicate or contain invasive species before they become too widespread and control becomes technically and/or financially impossible. Populations that are not addressed early may require costly ongoing control efforts.″

— National Invasive Species Management Plan


Dangerous Travelers: Controlling Invasive Plants Along America's Roadways
Early Detection and Rapid Response
Early Detection from the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England
Free Online Invasive Plant ID Course

This 3-part online course was developed by Montana State University Extension. It can be taken anytime and participants can receive credit.
Manager's Toolkit: Early Detection and Rapid Response

Articles and Publications

A National Early Detection and Rapid Response System for Invasive Plants in the United States: A Conceptual Design
Developing Bid Specifications for Invasive Plant Control Programs

TIPS for Fighting Weeds on Small Acreages in Montana


California Invasive Plant Council: Prevention
Don't Move Firewood
Prevention Training Videos
Weed Prevention Areas: Protecting Montana from Invasive Weeds
Weed Prevention and Management Guidelines for Public Lands

Articles and Publications

Preventing the Spread of Invasive Plants: Best Management Practices for Land Managers

California Invasive Plant Council | 2012

Preventing the Spread of Invasive Plants: Best Management Practices for Transportation and Utility Corridors

California Invasive Plant Council | 2012

Inspection and Cleaning Manual for Equipment and Vehicles to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species

USDI Bureau of Reclamation | 2012

State Noxious Weed Seed Requirements Recognized in the Administration of the Federal Seed Act

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service | 2012

Preventing Noxious Weed Invasions

Montana State University Extension | 2011

Prevention: CIPM's Online Invasive Plant Management Textbook

Center for Invasive Plant Management

Comparison of Relocatable Commercial Vehicle Washing Systems

USDA Forest Service | 2008

Preventing Horticultural Introductions of Invasive Plants: Potential Efficacy of Voluntary Initiatives

Biological Invasions | 2007

Transfer of Invasive Species Associated with the Movement of Military Equipment and Personne

US Army Corps of Engineers | 2007

Invasive Plant Prevention Guidelines

Center for Invasive Plant Management | 2003

Guide to Noxious Weed Prevention Practices

USDA Forest Service | 2001

Beware of Invasive Species

USDOT Federal Highway Administration | 2000