Cheatgrass

Bromus tectorum

Commonly known as downy brome, drooping brome

Cheatgrass has invaded North America and has become an invasive species in many areas. It is found readily growing in waste places, roadsides and foothill ranges. Cheatgrass is an annual that reproduces by seed from a 10-15 inch stalk with drooping flower stalks. Cheat grows very quickly with typical springtime temperatures and moisture. As summer heat moves in, growth dissipates, and the once green stalks turn brown and seeds begin to drop. Cheat spreads very rapidly in temperate climates with disturbed soils. Seeds can travel easily via wind or mechanical means (cars can very easily transfer the seeds). Most everyone has had cheatgrass seeds stuck in their socks or shoes. They can bury themselves in animal fur as well.

Smaller areas of cheat can be controlled by mechanical means such as pulling or mowing to prevent seed formation. Pre-emergents must be timed appropriately as cheat can germinate as early as the fall or as late as springtime. Outside of pulling or mowing the grass, a spot treatment of glyphosate has proven as the most effective chemical control of cheatgrass.

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