Using indaziflam and activated carbon seed technology in efforts to increase perennials in Ventenata dubia-invaded rangelands

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Reestablishing perennial vegetation dominance in ventenata (Ventenata dubia)– and other annual grass-invaded rangelands is critical to restoring ecological function and increasing ecosystem goods and services. Recovery of perennial dominance in ventenata-invaded rangelands is challenging and constrained by a lack of established best management practices; however, preemergent herbicides can, at least temporarily, reduce ventenata. Indaziflam is a preemergent herbicide that has longer soil activity than other commonly used preemergent herbicides that needs evaluated to determine if it offers multiple-year control of ventenata and to determine its effects on residual perennial vegetation. Some ventenata-invaded rangelands may not have enough residual vegetation to occupy the site after ventenata control, but longer soil activity with indaziflam likely limits establishment of seeded species. However, incorporating seeds in activated carbon pellets, which can limit herbicide damage, may be a strategy for establishing perennial vegetations simultaneously with indaziflam application. We evaluated 1) applying indaziflam to control ventenata and 2) broadcast-seeding perennial grass seed incorporated in activated carbon pellets with a simultaneous indaziflam application at two sites for 3 yr post treatment. Indaziflam controlled ventenata for the 3 yr sampled. Perennial grasses increased with indaziflam at the site that had more residual perennial grasses before treatment. At the other site, perennial forbs increased with indaziflam. Indaziflam offers multiple-year control of ventenata; however, plant community response depends on composition before treatment. Seeding perennial grass seeds incorporated in activated carbon pellets while indaziflam controlled ventenata did not increase perennial grass abundance. Though this was likely associated with low establishment due to below-average precipitation post seeding and because broadcast seeding is often an ineffective seeding method, we cannot rule out nontarget herbicide damage. Further evaluations of activated carbon technologies used in conjunction with indaziflam are needed to determine if this can be an effective management  strategy.

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