Aminocyclopyrachlor (AMCP) will control many invasive broadleaf weeds, but the susceptibility of desirable forbs is not widely known. Native prairie response to AMCP was evaluated near Fargo, ND, and Felton, MN, in the Northern Great Plains. Both sites had high floristic quality prior to treatment, with 33 and 80 different species at Fargo and Felton, respectively. AMCP was applied at 140 g ha−1 in July 2014 to coincide with leafy spurge and Canada thistle treatment timing. AMCP altered the plant communities and reduced foliar cover of undesirable species, high seral forbs (undisturbed stable communities), and low seral forbs (early succession in disturbed communities) at both locations at 10 and 14 mo after treatment (MAT). AMCP reduced Canada thistle and leafy spurge in Fargo and eliminated hedge bindweed, prickly lettuce, and black medic in Felton. High seral forb foliar cover was reduced at 10 and 14 MAT from 20% to 2% and 3% in Fargo and from 19% to 1.6% and 2% in Felton, respectively. The high seral forb species birdfoot violet, white panicled aster, northern bedstraw, Canada goldenrod, purple meadowrue, and American vetch were reduced at both locations. Low seral forb cover also decreased at 10 MAT from 22% to 10% in Fargo and from 12% to 1% in Felton, respectively. By 14 MAT, low seral species in Fargo recovered to 16%, but recovery was much slower in Felton and slightly increased to 1.5%. After treatment high and low seral monocot species increased at both sites, likely due to reduced competition from susceptible species. AMCP reduced richness, evenness, and diversity at both locations at 10 and 14 MAT; therefore, floristic quality declined. A decline in diversity is generally undesirable but could have beneficial effects if invasive weeds and other undesirable species are reduced or eliminated.
Nomenclature: Aminocyclopyrachlor; American vetch, Vicia americana Muhl. ex Willd.; birdfoot violet, Viola pedata L.; black medic, Medicago lupulina L.; Canada goldenrod, Solidago canadensis L.; Canada thistle, Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.; hedge bindweed, Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Br; leafy spurge, Euphorbia esula L.; northern bedstraw, Galium boreale L.; prickly lettuce, Lactuca serriola L.; purple meadowrue, Thalictrum dasycarpum Fisch. & Avé-Lall.; white panicled aster, Aster simplex Willd.