Ventenata (Ventenata dubia [Leers] Coss.) is an exotic annual grass that can invade intermountain rangeland plant communities, where it can form monotypic stands, degrade wildlife habitat, and reduce livestock forage. There is limited information on ventenata control in rangelands as it has only recently been identified as a substantial problem. Imazapic is a pre-emergent herbicide commonly used to control other exotic annual grasses and, therefore, is likely to control ventenata in rangelands. We evaluated five application rates of imazapic (0–175 g ae·ha–1) on ventenata and other exotic annual grass control and plant community response at two rangeland sites in 2 yr (2014 and 2015). Imazapic reduced exotic annual grass (largely ventenata) cover and density, with greater control with increasing imazapic rates. Exotic annual grass density at the highest levels of control (82%–94%) was 184–299 plants·m–2 the first yr after imazapic application. Exotic annual grasses fully recovered in the second or third yr after imazapic application. Bare ground generally increased with imazapic application. However, density of perennial vegetation (grasses and forbs) did not vary among treatments. Perennial vegetation cover generally did not increase with imazapic control of ventenata and other exotic annual grasses. Imazapic can control ventenata; however, even at the highest rates, control was not enough to shift the dominance from exotic annual species to perennial species. Integrating other treatments with imazapic application may be a strategy to improve ventenata control and increase perennial vegetation and will require further investigation. The difficulty and likely expense of achieving substantial and lasting control of ventenata suggest, similar to other exotic annual grasses, that preventing ventenata invasion and dominance should be a high management priority.
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Vol. 72 • No. 4