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Effects of Integrating Mowing and Imazapyr Application on African Rue (Peganum harmala) and Native Perennial Grasses

Dustin D. Johnson, Kirk W. Davies
Invasive plant science and management 2014 v.7 no.4 pp. 617-623
Peganum harmala, Ruta graveolens, application rate, floodplains, flowering, forbs, grasses, imazapyr, invasive species, mowing, nontarget organisms, perennials, pesticide application, pesticide use reduction, plant damage, plant density, poisonous plants, rangelands, shrubs, understory, Great Basin States
African rue is a poisonous, perennial forb that readily invades salt-desert shrub and sagebrush-steppe rangelands. Information detailing options for integrated management of African rue is lacking. To date, a few studies have researched the efficacy of different herbicides for controlling African rue, but none have investigated integrated approaches to its management. Broadcast applications of imazapyr at three rates (0.275, 0.55, and 0.85 kg ae ha-1) were made, with and without a prior mowing treatment, to African rue when it was in full bloom. Imazapyr resulted in significant reductions in both the cover and density of African rue, regardless of application rate or mowing treatment (P < 0.05). Mowing had no effect on African rue cover or density (P > 0.05). Higher rates of imazapyr resulted in significant reductions in the cover of native perennial bunchgrasses (P < 0.05), whereas the low rate did not affect perennial grass cover, regardless of mowing treatment (P > 0.05). Integrating a mowing treatment with imazapyr applications was less effective for controlling African rue than applying herbicide alone. Mowing before imazapyr application did not increase survival of perennial grasses. Our results suggest that the recommended rate of imazapyr for controlling African rue (0.85 kg ae ha-1) could be reduced by as much as one-third on dry floodplain ecological sites within the northern Great Basin without comprising its effectiveness for controlling African rue. This lower rate would reduce nontarget damage to native perennial grasses, which are the dominant functional group in the herbaceous understory. Less damage to native perennial grasses would probably accelerate understory recovery and help prevent invasion by other invasive species.