Tom's Blog

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good time to spray smooth brome

Smooth brome (Bromus inermis) is widespread in our area and is one of the most difficult species to get rid of. Several characteristics are particularly significant:

  • Cool season grass that gets started before any other plant
  • Rapid clonal spread via rhizomes
  • Effective spread via prolific flowering and seed production
  • Widespread in our part of the state
A burn will kill all the above-ground parts but about a week after the burn smooth brome starts to appear. Folks often remark favorably that our burnt prairies are already greening up. However, anything green this early is bad! The main advantage of these newly green patches is that they show us where the bad guys are.

Fortunately, this early growth provides the way of getting rid of smooth brome. Since nothing but smooth brome has come up yet, the offending patches can be killed by spraying with 2% glyphosate. This herbicide has the unique characteristic that is completely inactivated by soil particles. This means that it has no residual activity. Therefore, only plants that are green are killed. You can spray with impunity! Since we have already eliminated most of the large patches of smooth brome (as described in the link below), now we are only spot spraying, mainly road cuts.


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