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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323078

Title: Rehabilitation and Cheatgrass Suppression Following Great Basin Wildfires

item Clements, Darin - Charlie
item Harmon, Daniel - Dan
item Blank, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Weed Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only.

Technical Abstract: The occurrence of wildfires in Great Basin environments has become an annual event. The introduction and subsequent invasion of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) plays a very large role in the frequency and size of these wildfires. With each passing wildfire season, more and more habitats are converted to cheatgrass dominated habitats. It is critical to understand the competitive nature of cheatgrass if land managers are going to reverse this tide of annual grass dominance. Cheatgrass germinates at a very wide range of constant and alternating seedbed temperatures, has rapid root development and is a prolific seed producer with the ability to build persistent seed banks . The integrated approach of using natural wildfires, mechanical and chemical fallow treatments all provide an open window for successful rehabilitation applications. The best known method at suppressing cheatgrass densities and fuel loads is through the establishment of long-lived perennial grasses. Seed species that are selected for restoration/rehabilitation efforts must have the inherent potential to germinate, emerge and establish in those given environments in the face of cheatgrass competition. Effective weed control practices such as applying a soil active herbicide in the fall at proper rates, fallowing the site for one-year and then seeding the site with long-lived perennial grasses (that have the best inherent potential) the following fall can result in significant reductions in cheatgrass densities and fuel loads. This results in decreased wildfire frequencies and allows for the return of critical browse species and plant succession which benefits wildlife and sustainable agricultural practices.