Location: Great Basin Rangelands ResearchTitle: Rehabilitating cheatgrass-infested rangelands
Submitted to: Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/26/2018
Publication Date: 11/13/2018
Citation: Clements, C. D., D. N. Harmon, J. A. Young and R. R. Blank. 2018. Rehabilitation of cheatgrass-infested rangelands. 2018 Webinar Series http://www.sagegrouseinitiative.com
Technical Abstract: Disturbed rangelands present significant challenges to land managers and private land owners. Controversy exists on the approach as to how to restore or rehabilitate these degraded rangelands. The proper use of plant materials and aggressive weed control practices can significantly increase the success of rehabilitation efforts on rangelands. Discing cheatgrass dominated habitats in the spring prior to cheatgrass flowering decreased cheatgrass above-ground densities by 73-82% which contributed to more than a 300% increase in seeded species success. The use of soil active herbicides controlled above-ground cheatgrass densities by 95-99% and increased seeded species success by nearly 600%. Understanding that as little as 4 cheatgrass plants/ft² can outcompete perennial grass seedlings gives rise to the level of cheatgrass control needed to successfully seed perennial grasses. Ultimately, the seed species that are planned to be used in rehabilitation efforts must have the inherent potential to germinate, emerge and establish in the selected treatment sites and in the face of such competitors as cheatgrass. The primary goal is to have a high level of cheatgrass control to allow for seedlings of seeded species, especially perennial grasses, to establish on the site and perform future suppression of cheatgrass and associated fuels. By decreasing cheatgrass densities and associated fuels, managers can decrease the chance, rate, spread and season of wildfires, therefor improve critical wildlife habitats and grazing resources.