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Smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis) is a Eurasian C3 perennial grass. It was introduced to North America in 1884 to control soil erosion and for pasture improvement, but has been outcompeting the native grasses of the northern Great Plains, decreasing diversity and altering habitats. Control of smooth bromegrass is a key to improve degraded native dominated grasslands. However, current practices have minimal or only short term effects due to extensive rhizome and tiller production by bromegrass. Even though vegetative reproduction via the belowground bud bank is the primary means for its invasiveness and persistence, the effect of management on its bud production dynamics and fate has not been evaluated until recently. The objective of this study was to examine smooth bromegrass belowground bud viability and tiller and rhizome production under various mowing frequencies over two consecutive growing seasons. Plants were mowed back to 5-cm stubble each time when their elongated node reached beyond mowing height. Mowing treatment at the boot stage significantly reduced the number of total crown positions per tiller by 17 to 26%, total buds by 13 to 31%, and percentage of dormant buds by 5 to 48%. Total daughter tillers and rhizomes were significantly reduced by 26 to 52% as the mowing frequency increased. The results indicate that repeated moving at the optimal growth stage can effectively hinder bud formation and development, tiller recruitment and food reserves, and deplete existing bud bank by activating dormant buds. To achieve long-term effectiveness, the treatments need to be implemented for multiple years until food reserves and bud supply are completely depleted.

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Proceedings of the South Dakota Academy of Science




South Dakota Academy of Science