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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cheatgrass

Authors
item Young, James
item Clements, Darin

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2005
Publication Date: November 1, 2005
Citation: Young, J.A., Clements, C.D. 2005. Cheatgrass [abstract]. Proceedings Southwest Vegetation Management Association. 8:14-18.

Technical Abstract: Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), native to Central and Southwestern Asia, found its’ home in the United States through contaminated cereal grain and wheat. The use of portable, steam powered grain threshing machines along with the railway system helped in the distribution of this annual grass throughout the United States. Once introduced, cheatgrass invaded disturbed and degraded big sagebrush/bunchgrass communities throughout the Western United States. Cheatgrass provides an early maturing, fine textured fuel that has increased the chance, rate and spread of wildfire as well as decreased the interval of wildfire in many habitats from an estimated 8-110 years down to 5-10 years. Once these habitats burn and reburn in such a short interval, the site is dominated by cheatgrass. As little as 4 cheatgrass plants per square foot can out compete native perennial grass seedlings. The establishment of perennial grass is the best means at suppressing cheatgrass, but most sites have well over 4 cheatgrass plants per square foot, some over 1,000. Mechanical and herbicide applications are necessary to reduce cheatgrass populations in order to get perennial grass seedlings established.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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