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Effectiveness and Cost of Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum) Control at High Elevation

  • Amy L. Concilio (a1)

Downy brome (Bromus tectorum) is an invasive, annual grass that has spread through much of the Great Basin desert but remains patchy at high elevation. This study evaluates control options for outlier infestations in the eastern Sierra Nevada, CA, based on their ecological effectiveness and their economic and practical feasibility. I tested the efficacy of hand-pulling, sheet-mulching, and soil solarization followed by broadcast and seedball seeding of native forbs and grasses. Downy brome cover, density, and dominance in the seed bank decreased with all removal treatments. Soil solarization and sheet mulching were most successful at eliminating downy brome (decreasing density by 99% after just 1 yr of treatment in both cases), but they had negative nontarget impacts on other herbaceous species. Germination of native seeds was low with both broadcast and seedball seeding, probably because of dry conditions. Each of the methods tested has potential for decreasing or eliminating small-scale, outlier infestations of downy brome along roadsides and in disturbed sites and thereby helping to contain the invasion.

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Invasive Plant Science and Management
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