Managing Spotted Knapweed–Infested Rangeland after Wildfire

by Monica L. Pokorny, Jane M. Mangold, James Hafer, and M. Kirk Denny
Invasive Plant Science and Management 3(2):182-189. 2010
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1614/IPSM-09-023.1

Invasive plants need to be managed after wildfire to suppress the invasive plant and to maintain or restore a desired plant community. Our study tested treatments that influence species availability and performance following a disturbance (wildfire). The overall objective was to determine the ability of herbicide and revegetation treatments to restore spotted knapweed–infested areas to desired plant communities after wildfire. The study consisted of a factorial combination of three herbicide application treatments (broadcast application, spot application, and no herbicide) and three seed mixture treatments (grass-only seed mix, a grass and forb seed mix, no seeding). Picloram was used for the herbicide. Both the broadcast and spot picloram application methods decreased spotted knapweed cover and density up to 80% while increasing desired grass cover and density up to 20% compared with the control. However, broadcast spraying picloram decreased species richness from 5.7 to 3.6 species 0.1 m−2 and decreased desired forb density and cover compared with spot-applied picloram treatment. Spot spraying resulted in an increase in other undesired forbs compared with broadcast spraying. Seeding with desired species had no effect on spotted knapweed cover or density. Spot spraying may help maintain desired species richness while managing spotted knapweed.