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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #409989

Research Project: Management and Restoration of Rangeland Ecosystems

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: The use of pre-emergent herbicides in Cheatgrass control and rehabilitation

item Clements, Darin - Charlie
item Harmon, Daniel - Dan
item QUICKE, HARRY - Envu Environmental Science Us

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2023
Publication Date: 1/29/2024
Citation: Clements, D.D., Harmon, D.N., Quicke, H. 2024. The use of pre-emergent herbicides in Cheatgrass control and rehabilitation. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. 77:61.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit has a long history of researching herbicides in an effort to control cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and revegetate degraded habitats. Cheatgrass truncates secondary succession by outcompeting native plant species for limited resources. Cheatgrass’s ability to build persistent seed banks increases its’ competitive advantage on arid and semi-arid rangelands. The ability of resource managers to have tools available to them to control exotic and invasive weeds such as cheatgrass is instrumental in improving rehabilitation and restoration efforts throughout the Great Basin. When using soil-active pre-emergent herbicides that have been tested to show activity on species such as cheatgrass, it is critically important to follow the label as to not cause unintended harm and reduce the intended purpose of the herbicide as well as put this useful tool at risk. An example of this would be the application of sulfometuron methyl on erodible soil, in which the erodible soil with sulfometuron methyl residue was wind blown to adjacent agricultural fields causing millions of dollars in damage. The proper application of a more popular and widely used pre-emergent herbicide, imazapic, has shown excellent activity on arid and semi-arid rangelands by reducing cheatgrass densities by more than 95%. Applying this herbicide in the fall of the year, fallowing the site for 1-year and seeding the site the following fall to adaptable and desirable perennial species has significantly increased germination, emergence and establishment of seeded species. A more recent herbicide, indaziflam, is showing great signs of controlling cheatgrass for > 48 months, especially on sites with remnant perennial species. This added length of activity reduces wildfire risks and increases perennial species nutrition. The use of these pre-emergent herbicides show great promise in reducing cheatgrass and improving seeding success as well as reducing wildfire risks.