Fearsome cheatgrass taking over land can generate enough horror to reach for silver bullets.
But there are no silver bullets for cheatgrass, University of Wyoming Extension specialist Dan Tekiela told those attending the July 11 cheatgrass management field day in Sybille Canyon.
More than 45 people attended the event in the relatively isolated Tom Thorne/Beth Williams Wildlife Habitat Management Area between Laramie and Wheatland, representing producers, government agencies and the herbicide industry.
Pickups and SUVs parked near the herbicide test plots, the attendees having heard Tekiela earlier discuss management options and the importance of managing the soil seed bank.
They saw results – or lack – of herbicide trials in a heavily cheatgrass infested area for which the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and state lands had treated more than a decade ago.
The cheatgrass shrugged off the earlier treatments and returned, and agency representatives wanted to see what alternatives could eradicate, or at least lessen, the cheatgrass.
Tekiela partnered with them on the project and wasn’t perplexed at the higher-than-thought turnout to the isolated area because cheatgrass isn’t selective – everyone has a problem with it. Researchers across the nation are studying the invasive grass.
“It’s the poster child of invasion in the West,” he said. “People are scrambling for information, but we don’t have the silver bullet.”
There will likely never be a one-size-fits-all solution, but Tekiela had specific takeaway messages during the day.
Using bioherbicides and the herbicide Esplanade for cheatgrass control are among topics at the Cheatgrass Management and Research Field Day Wednesday, July 11, through the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The program is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Tom Thorne/Beth Williams Habitat Management Area, said Dan Tekiela, UW Extension invasive plant ecology specialist.
“We will be looking at some of the newest technologies in cheatgrass management,” said Tekiela, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences. “These tools may be something ranchers could be interested in utilizing in their own practices.”
Tekiela has been working with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to find alternative ways to manage an area heavily infested with cheatgrass.
Previous attempts have failed, said Tekiela.
“We have multiple trials looking at multiple herbicide options,” he said.
Other topics include using drones in vegetation monitoring with a demonstration and cheatgrass effects on soil moisture. Lunch is provided.
The management area access is off Highway 34 in Sybille Canyon about 24 miles from U.S. 30 or 26 miles from Interstate 25.
Resource experts from Sublette County Weed and Pest and the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University are speakers at the cheatgrass education and research update in Pinedale Tuesday, April 3.
The free session is 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the district’s office at 12 S. Bench Rd., said Glenn Owings, UW Extension educator.
The meeting is open to anyone interested in learning more about local cheatgrass control efforts and emerging research, he said.
* Julie Kraft, Sublette County Weed and Pest
* Clay Wood, University of Wyoming
* Dan Tekiela, UW Extension
* Shannon Clark, Colorado State University
Lunch is free for those who RSVP by March 29, but no RSVP is required if not attending lunch. RSVP to Owings firstname.lastname@example.org or call 307-367-4380.