Bromus tectorum is expanding across western North America. This spread is due to its own competitive abilities, land management practices, and unintended transport by the public as the plant's spikelets often lodge in clothing. Many assume that washing in a laundry machine makes the seeds nonviable: we decided to test this assumption. We hypothesized that seeds would exhibit lower rates of germination and emergence after being laundered, and the effect would be stronger if bleach was used. We found that washing with detergent, followed by drying, had no effect on germination when seeds were allowed to sprout 20 days later. We also found that a 6.0% solution of sodium hypochlorite bleach reduced germination and growth if planting occurred 180 days after laundering.
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Vol. 34 • No. 4