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Effects of Aminopyralid on California Annual Grassland Plant Communities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Joseph M. DiTomaso
Affiliation:
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
Guy B. Kyser
Affiliation:
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Aminopyralid is the most commonly used herbicide for the control of yellow starthistle and other invasive thistles in annual grasslands of California. Although the effects of aminopyralid on native plant communities over a 2-yr period have been evaluated in prairies dominated by perennial species in the northern central states, similar evaluations have not been conducted in grassland communities of California, which are generally composed of a high diversity of native and nonnative annual species. In this study we monitored the effects of 53 and 123 g ae aminopyralid ha−1 on individual species cover and species richness over three growing seasons in two locations on California annual grassland. Treated plots were compared to untreated plots in randomized complete-block designs. Results were largely consistent between the two trials. In the first season after treatment, both rates of aminopyralid reduced dicot cover significantly, particularly members of the Asteraceae and Fabaceae. Treated plots also showed reduced species richness. However, these differences were less pronounced in the second season after treatment, particularly at the low rate. By the third season after treatment in both sites, there were no longer any significant effects on cover or species richness at the low herbicide rate. On California annual grasslands, winter applications of low rates of aminopyralid have been shown to give excellent control of yellow starthistle, providing long-term benefits to grassland ecosystems. Results of the current study suggest that negative impacts of aminopyralid on the desirable native forb community are transitory.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Weed Science Society of America 

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