New study: Medusahead grass will outcompete other invasive grasses in U.S. West

Medusahead

University of California-Berkeley photo.

 

Oregon State University November 11, 2010, press release:

A new field study confirms that an invasive weed called Medusahead [Taeniatherum caput-medusae] has growth advantages over most other grass species, suggesting it will continue to spread across much of the West, disrupt native ecosystems and make millions of acres of grazing land almost worthless.

The research, by scientists from Oregon State University and the Agricultural Research Service, was one of the most comprehensive studies ever done that compared the “relative growth rate” of this invasive annual grass to that of other competing species in natural field conditions.

“Medusahead is now spreading at about 12% a year over 17 western states,” said Seema Mangla, a researcher in the OSU College of Forestry. “Once established, it’s very hard to get rid of. It displaces native grasses and even other invasive species that animals can still eat. Unless we do more to stop it, Medusahead will take over much of the native grassland in the West.

Read more here.

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