Managing Unwanted Vegetation in Riparian Restoration Sites

Ed Peachey and Brad Withrow-Robinson
April 2019
Revision notes: 
Reviewed March 2022

There is increasing interest and activity around the Pacific Northwest in restoring native plant communities and habitats such as prairies, oak savannas and riparian forests. Restoration management aims at restoring habitat functions and processes on sites disturbed by human activities. To do so it is often necessary to remove a non-native plant community first, then replace it with native plants which are able to provide desired habitat structure and functions. With the increasing number and size of restorations being undertaken as well as the growing diversity of groups and individuals involved, it is increasingly recognized that many farm and forestry practices, including the use of herbicides, can have a useful role in this effort.

This section is meant to provide some guidance for managing unwanted vegetation in riparian area restoration projects. In particular, it will address the selection and use of herbicides suitable and labeled for riparian restoration. For a broader discussion of controlling weeds in habitat areas, please see “Weed Control Methods Handbook: Tools & Techniques for Use in Natural Areas” ( or “A Guide to Riparian Tree and Shrub Planting in the Willamette Valley: Steps to Success” ( for a more local discussion of riparian restoration approaches and methods.