From the California Agriculture 75(2):83-89. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.2021a0011
The invasive annual grasses barb goatgrass (Aegilops triuncialis L.) and medusahead (Elymus caput-medusae L.) are widespread in western states and present management challenges on grasslands. To develop an integrated management strategy for these species, we treated sites in five pastures in Mendocino County, comparing combinations of intensive sheep grazing, glyphosate herbicide (low and high), and application timings (tillering, boot and heading stage). We found that grazing alone reduced barb goatgrass spikelet densities by 68% and the number of seeds per spikelet by 35%. Both rates of glyphosate application without grazing had similar effects on seed production. High and low glyphosate application at tillering resulted in almost complete control of both target species. Boot- and heading-stage applications reduced barb goatgrass density by 39% and 32%, respectively. Application at the boot stage also resulted in an 82% reduction in number of seeds per barb goatgrass spikelet. Our results suggest that intensive grazing may be a useful management strategy to reduce barb goatgrass and medusahead spikelet densities and barb goatgrass seed numbers, especially when integrated with a boot- or heading-stage glyphosate application.
Barb goatgrass and medusahead are challanging invasive grasses to manage. However, new research suggests that an integrated pest management (IPM) approach using low rate herbicide application early in the plants' growth and grazing can be very effective for control.
Link to full article: https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.2021a0011