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Improving Restoration of Exotic Annual Grass-Invaded Rangelands Through Activated Carbon Seed Enhancement Technologies

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Cost-efficient strategies for revegetating annual grass-infested rangelands are limited. Restoration efforts typically comprise a combination of pre-emergent herbicide treatments and seeding to restore desired plant materials. However, practitioners struggle with applying herbicide at rates sufficient to achieve weed control without damaging non-target seeded species. The objective of this research was to determine if seed enhancement technologies using activated carbon would improve selectivity of the pre-emergent herbicide imazapic. Bluebunch wheatgrass seed was either left untreated, coated with activated carbon using a rotary coater, or incorporated into “herbicide protection pods” (HPP’s) made of activated carbon through a newly developed seed extrusion technique. In a grow-room facility, bluebunch wheatgrass seeds were sown in pots that contained cheatgrass seed. After planting, pots were sprayed with 70, 105, 140, or 210 g active ingredient (ai)/ha of imazapic, or left unsprayed. Where herbicide was not applied, cheatgrass biomass dominated the growing space. Imazapic effectively controlled cheatgrass and untreated bluebunch wheatgrass. Activated carbon-coated seed showed some resistance to imazapic at 70 g ai/ha. Seeds that were incorporated into HPP’s were protected from imazapic at all application rates. When untreated seeds and HPP’s are compared at the 4 levels of herbicide application (excluding the no herbicide level), the HPP treatment was on average 4.8, 3.8, and 19.0-fold higher than untreated seeds in density, height, and biomass, respectively. These results indicate that HPP’s and, to a lesser extent, activated carbon seed coatings may further enhance a single-entry revegetation program by providing land practitioners with the ability to apply imazapic at rates necessary for weed control while minimizing non-target plant injury.
Matthew D. Madsen , Kirk W. Davies , Daniel L. Mummey , Tony J. Svejcar
Bromus tectorum , Pseudoroegneria spicata , activated carbon , active ingredients , annual weeds , application rate , biomass , extrusion , grass seed , herbicide-resistant weeds , imazapic , invasive species , land restoration , pesticide application , plant damage , plant-incorporated protectants , pods , preemergent weed control , rangelands , seed dressings , sowing
USDA Scientist Submission
Rangeland Ecology and Management 2014 v.67
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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