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Preemergent Control of Medusahead on California Annual Rangelands with Aminopyralid

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Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae [L.] Nevski), the most problematic invasive grass on many California rangelands, is difficult to control selectively in grasslands. Prescribed burning, grazing, and herbicides have been tested with some success but are not practical in all situations. The selective herbicide aminopyralid, normally used for control of certain broadleaf species such as thistles, suppresses some annual grasses when applied pre- or early postemergence. In 2009–2010, we tested the efficacy of aminopyralid for medusahead control in preemergence applications at three foothill rangeland sites in northern California. We compared a rate series of aminopyralid (53, 88, 123, and 245 g · ha−1 acid equivalent [ae]) with rimsulfuron (18 and 35 g · ha−1 active ingredient) and imazapic (140 g · ha−1 ae). Plots were 3 × 9 m with four replications at each site. Treatments were applied in early fall 2009. In May 2010, we took visual cover estimates and biomass/seedhead samples in three quadrats per plot. In regression analysis, medusahead cover was found to decrease consistently with increasing rates of aminopyralid. Medusahead control at the highest rates of aminopyralid was consistent across the three sites, averaging 89% ± 3 standard deviation (SD) with 245 g · ha−1 ae and 59% ± 10 SD with 123 g · ha−1 ae. Aminopyralid at lower rates, rimsulfuron, and imazapic were less consistent. Cover of other annual grasses increased in plots treated with aminopyralid at all sites. Aminopyralid has potential utility for suppressing medusahead, particularly in sites also infested with invasive members of the Asteraceae. However, the most effective rate (245 g · ha−1 ae) is registered for use only as a spot application. In situations where this rate can be justifiably used, it would be expected to give season-long control of medusahead, as well as longer-term control of thistles and other susceptible species.

G.B. Kyser; V.F. Peterson; J.S. Davy; J.M. DiTomaso

Kyser GB, Peterson VF, Davy JS, DiTomaso JM. Preemergent Control of Medusahead on California Annual Rangelands with Aminopyralid. Rangeland Ecology and Management [Internet]. 2012 ;65(4):8. Available from:

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