Controlling weeds for establishing native grass
Cultivation of marginal lands has led to serious soil management and erosion problems. Re-establishing native grasslands on these fragile soils provides soil protection and restoration, multispecies wildlife habitat, and improves the hydrological cycle. Native grasses, however, are generally characterized by poor germination and slow establishment, and hence do not compete well with weeds. Northern wheatgrass, western wheatgrass, slender wheatgrass, and green needlegrass tolerance to graminicides was evaluated in field trials in Saskatchewan in 1991-1993. Although forage yields were reduced in some cases when double the rate of herbicide recommended to control wild oats and green foxtail was applied, tolerance was generally acceptable to several graminicides. In particular, most grasses showed acceptable tolerance to the selective graminicde tralkoxydim, which provided good control of the main invasive and exotic grasses (wild oats and green foxtail). Fenoxaprop would be a suitable alternative for grass mixtures not containing slender wheatgrass, while imazamethabenz would be suitable for all four species in areas where green foxtail was uncommon. These herbicides show promise as management tools in re-establishing native grasslands.
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