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21 December 2021 Late-Summer Fire Provides Long-Term Control of the Invasive Old World Bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum)
Charlotte M. Reemts, Carla Picinich, Thomas A. Greene
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Bothriochloa ischaemum (Old World Bluestem) is a problematic invasive grass throughout the southern United States. We measured the long-term effects (12 years) of a single growing-season fire (September 2006) in a grassland dominated by Old World Bluestem. Prescribed fire drastically reduced Old World Bluestem cover (prefire: 76 ± 4% [mean ± standard error], 2007: 8 ± 2%) and cover remained low (21 ± 6%) in 2018 with no additional management. Surprisingly, Old World Bluestem cover in unburned plots decreased 12% during the same time. After the burn, native graminoid cover peaked after 3 years (29 ± 7%) but decreased to 18 ± 5% by 2018, and native annual forb cover, almost absent before the fire, increased dramatically to 39 ± 7% in 2007, then quickly decreased to pre-burn levels. Native perennial forb cover more than doubled in 2007 and continued to increase to 58 ± 5% in 2018. A single growing-season fire greatly reduced the cover of Old World Bluestem, likely due to high fuel loads, low rainfall, and phenological timing; the fire also allowed perennial forbs to establish. Restoring dominance of native grasses after removal of this invasive species will require additional active restoration such as seeding or planting.

Charlotte M. Reemts, Carla Picinich, and Thomas A. Greene "Late-Summer Fire Provides Long-Term Control of the Invasive Old World Bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum)," Southeastern Naturalist 20(4), 589-601, (21 December 2021).
Published: 21 December 2021
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