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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Medusahead Invasion, Implications, and Management.

Author
item DAVIES, KIRK

Submitted to: High Desert Ranch Family Newsletter
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2007
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
Citation: Davies, K.W. 2008. Medusahead invasion, implications, and management.. High Desert Ranch Family Newsletter. Oregon State University Extension Service. Winter 2008:9-10

Interpretive Summary: Medusahead invasion of western rangelands is at a cross-road, either an aggressive effort to prevent its invasion of new areas is initiated, or millions of acres will be lost. Medusahead is an aggressive, exotic, annual grass invading rangelands in the western United States. The rapid spread of medusahead is a serious management concern because the invasion of medusahead reduces grazing capacity by 50 to 80%, degrades wildlife habitat, alters nutrient cycling, and decreases biodiversity. Temporary control of established monocultures of medusahead can be achieved with herbicides, but revegetation is often unsuccessful and expensive. Resources would be better spent controlling new infestations of medusahead and preventing it from spreading. Prevention of medusahead invasions needs to focus on three factors: 1) preventing medusahead seeds from dispersing to new locations, 2) increasing the resistance of desirable plant communities to medusahead invasion, and 3) searching for and eradicating new infestations. Efforts to prevent medusahead from expanding could protect hundreds of thousands of acres.

Technical Abstract: Medusahead invasion of western rangelands is at a cross-road, either an aggressive effort to prevent its invasion of new areas is initiated, or millions of acres will be lost. Medusahead is an aggressive, exotic, annual grass invading rangelands in the western United States. The rapid spread of medusahead is a serious management concern because the invasion of medusahead reduces grazing capacity by 50 to 80%, degrades wildlife habitat, alters nutrient cycling, and decreases biodiversity. Temporary control of established monocultures of medusahead can be achieved with herbicides, but revegetation is often unsuccessful and expensive. Resources would be better spent controlling new infestations of medusahead and preventing it from spreading. Prevention of medusahead invasions needs to focus on three factors: 1) preventing medusahead seeds from dispersing to new locations, 2) increasing the resistance of desirable plant communities to medusahead invasion, and 3) searching for and eradicating new infestations. Efforts to prevent medusahead from expanding could protect hundreds of thousands of acres.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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