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ARS Home » Plains Area » Miles City, Montana » Livestock and Range Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349106

Research Project: Adaptive Rangeland Management of Livestock Grazing, Disturbance, and Climatic Variation

Location: Livestock and Range Research Laboratory

Title: Establishing Wyoming big sagebrush in annual brome-invaded landscapes with seeding and herbicides

Author
item Metier, Emily
item REW, LISA - Montana State University
item Rinella, Matthew - Matt

Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2018
Publication Date: 7/25/2018
Citation: Metier, E.P., Rew, L.J., Rinella, M.J. 2018. Establishing Wyoming big sagebrush in annual brome-invaded landscapes with seeding and herbicides. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71(6):705-713. doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2018.06.001.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2018.06.001

Interpretive Summary: Restoring degraded grasslands with seeding is a major challenge. Often, seeded species do not establish and areas become/remain dominated by unwanted plants. We combined herbicides and reseeding in former coal mining fields dominated by annual bromes. The main interest was restoring big sage"], among the most difficult species to restore to North American grasslands. We tested the non-selective herbicide glyphosate and the grass-specific herbicide quizalofop. the summer following herbicide application, annual brome cover was 22% for controls, compared to 11% and 16% for glyphosate and quizalofop, respectively. Two summers after herbicide applications and seeding, seeding alone and combined with quizalofop did not significantly increase big sage, but glyphosate combined with seeding provided big sage densities of 3.05 and 0.43 plants m² at the two study mines. Seeding increased seeded species other than big sage, but the species responded inconsistently to herbicides. In the northern Great Plains, growing season conditions amenable to big sage recruitment do not appear entirely uncommon, and herbicides can increase recruitment.

Technical Abstract: Restoring degraded grasslands with seeding is a major challenge. Often, seeded species do not establish and areas become/remain dominated by unwanted plants. We combined herbicides and reseeding in former coal mining fields dominated by exotic winter annual grasses [downy brome (Bromus tectorum[L.]) and Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus Thunb.), hereafter “annual bromes”]. The main interest was restoring Wyoming big sagebrush [Artemisia tridentate spp.l wyomingensis [Beetle & A. young] S.L. Welsh, hereafter “big sage”], among the most difficult species to restore to North American grasslands. We tested the non-selective herbicide glyphosate and the grass-specific herbicide quizalofop. The summer following herbicide applications, annual brome cover was 22% (13%, 36%) for controls, compared to 11% (5%, 25%) and 16% (7%, 35%) for glyphosate and quizalofop, respectively [point estimate (95% confidence interval)]. Two summers after herbicide applications and seeding, seeding alone and combined with quizalofop did not significantly increase big sage, but glyphosate combined with seeding provided big sage densities of 3.05(1.42, 6.56) and 0.43 (0.13, 1.40) plants m² at the two study mines. Seeding increase seeded species other than big sage, but the species responded inconsistently to herbicides. In the northern Great Plains, growing season conditions amenable to big sage recruitment do not appear entirely uncommon, and herbicides can increase recruitment.