Tools for Improved Management of Buffelgrass in the Sonoran Desert
AuthorBean, Travis M.
aerial herbicide application
AdvisorSmith, Steven E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBuffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) is an invasive, perennial, C₄ bunchgrass. Buffelgrass has a rapid invasion rate, a tendency to displace native vegetation, and presents a fire risk to native plant communities, adjacent developed areas and their associated infrastructure. Mechanical control is impractical and unable to keep pace with regional spread. Chemical control has offered the most promise for successful and cost-effective management on a regional scale. The predominant herbicide used to control buffelgrass is glyphosate, which requires active vegetative growth when applied for optimum uptake and translocation to meristematic tissue. The timing and duration of active growth is difficult to predict. In this dissertation I addressed three related topics to improve effectiveness of buffelgrass management in the Sonoran Desert. First, I used digital time-lapse photography and weather data to predict the timing and length of future active growth based on day of year and antecedent weather at three sites in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, AZ that were representative of habitats currently infested by buffelgrass in the region. I was able to correctly predict greenness above or below a threshold of herbicide susceptibility at 81 to 95% for a basin floor site and at 61-88% for slope sites. Second, I evaluated the effects of different rates of two herbicides (imazapic and clethodim), alone or in combination with different rates of glyphosate, for pre- (imazapic only) and postemergence control of buffelgrass. I found a minimum glyphosate application rate of 2.52 kg ae ha⁻¹ glyphosate consistently killed mature buffelgrass plants; clethodim at had no effect on mature buffelgrass; and imazapyr was successful in killing mature plants when applied during the dormant season at 0.56 kg ae ha⁻¹ and provided preemergence control. Imazapic severely damaged but did not kill mature buffelgrass plants at the maximum label rate of 0.21 kg ae ha⁻¹. Finally, we evaluated results from a helicopter broadcast herbicide application trial conducted in the Tucson Mountains. We demonstrated that most species and life forms were less affected than buffelgrass to glyphosate deposition rates achieved in the study, but asserted that procedural changes were necessary to achieve effective buffelgrass control.
Degree ProgramGraduate College