Aminopyralid Constrains Seed Production of the Invasive Annual Grasses Medusahead and Ventenata

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Abstract

Invasive annual grasses, such as medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae [L.] Nevski), ventenata (Ventenata dubia [Leers] Coss.), downy brome (Bromus tectorum L.), and Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus Thunb. ex Murr.), are negatively impacting millions of hectares of US rangelands. Amino acid synthesis inhibitor and photosynthesis inhibitor herbicides are sometimes used to control invasive annual grasses. Conversely, growth regulator herbicides are generally considered ineffective against invasive annual grasses. However, in a recent study of pre-emergence herbicide applications, the growth regulator aminopyralid appreciably reduced medusahead cover, primarily by killing emerging medusahead plants. Additionally, in recent studies of postemergence herbicide applications, we found the growth regulators aminopyralid, dicamba, and picloram drastically reduced downy brome and Japanese brome seed production. In these postemergence studies, growth regulators sterilized the plants without otherwise greatly affecting them. The purpose of this greenhouse study was to extend our growth regulator/plant sterility research from downy brome and Japanese brome to medusahead and ventenata. Each tested aminopyralid rate and application growth stage (late seedling, internode elongation, heading) reduced medusahead seed production to nearly zero. Picloram also reduced medusahead seed production, but not quite as consistently as aminopyralid. With ventenata, aminopyralid applied at the seedling stage reduced seed production ˜95-99%. Beyond the seedling stage, however, ventenata responses to aminopyralid were highly variable. Picloram had low activity against ventenata seed production. These results contribute to a growing body of evidence suggesting it may be possible to use growth regulators to control invasive annual grasses by depleting their short-lived seedbanks.

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