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1 July 2009 Seeding Cool-Season Grasses to Suppress Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum), and Weedy Forbs
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Broom snakeweed (snakeweed) is an aggressive native range-weed found throughout arid and semiarid areas of the western United States, that increases following disturbances such as overgrazing, drought, or wildfire. Ecologically based strategies that include controlling snakeweed and reestablishing desirable herbaceous species are needed to restore productivity and diversity to invaded areas. The objective of this study was to compare the ability of selected introduced and native grass species and prostrate kochia (kochia) to prevent reinvasion of snakeweed, downy brome, and annual forbs following control. This field study was replicated at two sites (Howell and Nephi, Utah) within the sagebrush-steppe biome. Snakeweed and downy brome were controlled by picloram (0.25 kg/ha [0.22 lb/ac]) and glyphosate (1.5 kg/ha [1.3 lb/ac]). The seeding treatments were comprised of three introduced grasses and a mix of these species, three native grasses and a mix of these species, and kochia. The treatments were seeded into 3 by 15-m (10 by 50 ft) plots in October 2003. Frequency and biomass of seeded species, snakeweed, downy brome, other grasses, and annual forbs were measured in 2004, 2005, and 2008. Seeded species were evaluated for success of establishment and persistence, and their ability to restrict reinvasion of snakeweed, downy brome, and annual forbs. Crested wheatgrass and big squirreltail had the best initial establishment at both locations (> 75%). In contrast, kochia and Russian wildrye did not establish well at either site, and western wheatgrass did not establish well at Nephi. Snakeweed reestablishment was restricted in all treatments except the kochia treatments, in which kochia did not establish well. Frequency of downy brome increased at both sites, and annual forb frequency increased at Nephi to near 100%, but the better established grasses suppressed biomass production of these weedy species. Crested wheatgrass established best, had the greatest production, and provided greatest suppression of downy brome and annual weeds.

Nomenclature: Glyphosate; picloram; broom snakeweed, Gutierrezia sarothrae (Pursh) Britt. & Rusby GUESA; downy brome, Bromus tectorum L.; big squirreltail, Elymus multisetus (J.G. Sm.) Jones ‘Sand Hollow’; crested wheatgrass, Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertner × A. desertorum (Fisch. Ex Link) Schultes ‘Hycrest’; prostrate kochia, Kochia prostrata (L.) Schrader ‘Immigrant’; Russian wildrye, Psathyrostachys junceus (Fisch.) Nevski ‘Bozoisky’; western wheatgrass, Pascopyrum smithii (Rybd.) A. Löve ‘Rosanna’.

Eric Thacker, Michael H. Ralphs, and Thomas A. Monaco "Seeding Cool-Season Grasses to Suppress Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum), and Weedy Forbs," Invasive Plant Science and Management 2(3), (1 July 2009).
Received: 4 November 2008; Accepted: 1 April 2009; Published: 1 July 2009

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