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Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum) Control for Pipeline Restoration

  • Danielle B. Johnston (a1) (a2)

Energy-extraction disturbances entail soil handling and often have large edge-to-area ratios. These characteristics should be considered when designing weed-control strategies. In western North America, many energy developments coincide with infestations of downy brome, an annual grass that severely curtails productivity, diversity, and habitat value of invaded areas. Downy brome is sensitive to soil compaction and seed burial, both of which may occur when soil is handled. In this study, I examined the effect of soil-density manipulations and herbicide application (105 g ai ha−1 imazapic with 280 g ai ha−1 glyphosate) on six simulated pipeline disturbances in a Wyoming big sagebrush ecosystem invaded by downy brome. Disturbances occurred at the end of the growing season, after ambient downy brome seed rain in the study areas had abated. Treatments and seeding occurred shortly after disturbances. The following spring, downy brome seedling density was 10-fold lower within disturbances than in control areas, but seedling density quickly rebounded in disturbed areas where no herbicide had been applied. In herbicide plots, downy brome seedling density remained low during the first growing season, and shrub cover after 3 yr was eight times higher than in no-herbicide plots. Soil density manipulations via disking and rolling treatments had little effect on downy brome. Prior research has shown that imazapic is more effective when combined with disturbances, such as fire. This study demonstrates that imazapic may also be effective in combination with a disturbance that is timed to bury downy brome seeds.

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Invasive Plant Science and Management
  • ISSN: 1939-7291
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