The Enemy: Smooth brome (Bromus inermis)

Strategy: This perennial rhizomatous plant is quite often used in Conservation Reserve Program and pastures as it forms thick patches. It spreads by its underground root system. It is quite often mistaken for quackgrass , as both have wide leaves that livestock don’t prefer. At full maturity, it has an open seed head, where quackgrass has a single spikelet. This grass has a small constriction halfway toward the tip, giving the constriction an M appearance with the tip of the leaf forming a canoe shape.

Attack: This time of year it is easy to determine if you may have this grass. It will be the taller, thick grass your horses or cows prefer not to eat. Those higher-growing patches are probably this plant. It can outcompete desirable species as it has a stronger root system. As mentioned, livestock prefer not to eat it as it has tougher, rougher leaves so they tend to overgraze the smaller leaved grasses.

Defense: If you have an older pasture, this plant may have taken over the entire field. If you find you have patches of this throughout the pasture, you may consider adding a fence to force the livestock to graze it. Livestock prefer the smaller grasses, but if forced to, this grass will provide adequate protein. If control is necessary, fence half the area and treat it with Roundup with Ammonium sulfate added. Spray the site when the grass has at least 8 inches of growth and give it 10 days before disking and reseeding. Animals can reenter once you can pull up on the new grass and it breaks off, not getting any root.

To learn more, call Bonneville County Weed Superintendent Jeffrey Pettingill at 208-529-1397 or email weeds@co.bonneville.id.us.

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