Here's an article from the above website on a new herbicide which shows promise for control of cheat grass. Is optimism possible? Boldface mine.
Herbicide used to control
Elimination of the invasive weed would benefit wildlife and ecosystems
By Susie Vasquez
Cheat grass affects ecosystems and agriculture throughout Nevada's Great Basin and eradication is difficult, but a solution could be at hand, said Dr. Jennifer Vollmer, a senior vegetation management scientist with BASF Corp.
She said the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is conducting tests of a new herbicide called Plateau in
Made up of organic elements, Plateau is a chemical herbicide that affects an enzyme needed for plant growth, its activity highly specific to cheat grass.
It is nontoxic to animals and other native plants including sage, rabbit brush, bitterbrush and bunch grasses and one application of 6 to 8 ounces per acre will retard the growth of cheat grass for three years — long enough to eradicate the plant and remove any chance that seeds in the soil will regenerate, Vollmer said.
First identified in the
"Cheat grass out-competes sage and bunch grasses and
In addition to affecting sheep and cattle, this weed seriously hurts the ecosystems of the
"Cheat grass is nutritionally good only three to four weeks, yet in
By contrast, native bunch grasses provide nutritional forage for three to four months out of the year and can produce 12 times more forage during drought years.
Fire is a natural phenomenon that can rejuvenate range lands, but with the advent of cheat grass, those fires burn faster and hotter.
About 1.6 million acres burned in
Using Plateau to control cheat grass reduces height and speed of fires, making them easier to control, Vollmer said.
Republished with the permission of The Nevada Appeal.