- Author: Rebecca Ozeran
Many factors make weed management on federal public lands an interesting challenge.
In September I was invited to join one of the Sierra National Forest Rangeland Management Specialists to explore a medusahead infestation in one of the grazing allotments she manages. The infested meadow used to be a homestead, though the only obvious reminder is the cluster of still-productive apple trees in the middle of an otherwise grass-dominated site. Pines and other conifers border the meadow, and a forest road divides the meadow into two parts. The portion uphill of the road is steeper and has more trees interspersed with the herbaceous vegetation, while the downhill portion is a more expansive, gentler sloping meadow. Due to the...
- Author: Devii R. Rao
Fiddleneck (Amsinckia spp.) is a native plant in California. It occurs in grasslands and open, disturbed areas (DiTomaso, Kyser et al. 2013) and is sold as a pollinator plant in native plant seed mixes. Its bright yellow flowers catch the eye of those looking for wildflowers. However, it is important to note that fiddleneck is toxic to livestock.
Fiddleneck seeds contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can affect the liver of cattle, horses, and pigs (Fuller and McClintock 1986). Based on necropsies from livestock tested at the California Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS)...
- Author: Rebecca Ozeran
Thanks to the recent hot weather (already surpassing 90 degrees several days in a row), we are starting to see the lush green hills near Fresno transition into gold. The much-needed rain we received this spring could unfortunately create a problem in the coming summer: thick forage growth can quickly turn into fuel for fire season.
So, what does this have to do with weed management?
Before wildfire, weeds can be fuel; after wildfire, weeds can spread.
The main fuels in the valley and foothills are typically grasses. Even non-weedy grass species can be an issue if grazing livestock (and hardworking landscapers) can't keep up with grass growth before summer. Annual grasses are great...
- Author: Dan Macon
Targeted grazing using sheep, goats, or cattle (or combinations of two or more species) can be an effective way to manage vegetation for a variety of goals. Given the ever-present threat of wildfire in the summer and fall months in the Sierra foothills, many landowners and land managers are considering hiring targeted grazing contractors to help manage wildfire fuel loads.
Using ruminants to manage fuel loads through targeted grazing offers a number of important advantages:
- Targeted grazing can be a cost-effective alternative for reducing fine and ladder fuels over large and rugged landscapes that may be...