Plant and Soil

, Volume 280, Issue 1, pp 29-40

First online:

Direct Effects of Soil Amendments on Field Emergence and Growth of the Invasive Annual Grass Bromus tectorum L. and the Native Perennial Grass Hilaria jamesii (Torr.) Benth

  • Beth A. NewinghamAffiliated withUSGS Southwest Biological CenterDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Nevada - Las Vegas
  • , Jayne BelnapAffiliated withUSGS Southwest Biological CenterNatural Resources Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University Email author 

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Bromus tectorum L. is a non-native, annual grass that has invaded western North America. In SE Utah, B. tectorum generally occurs in grasslands dominated by the native perennial grass, Hilaria jamesii (Torr.) Benth. and rarely where the natives Stipa hymenoides Roem. and Schult. and S. comata Trin. & Rupr. are dominant. This patchy invasion is likely due to differences in soil chemistry. Previous laboratory experiments investigated using soil amendments that would allow B. tectorum to germinate but would reduce B. tectorum emergence without affecting H. jamesii. For this study we selected the most successful treatments (CaCl2, MgCl2, NaCl and zeolite) from a previous laboratory study and applied them in the field in two different years at B. tectorum-dominated field sites. All amendments except the lowest level of CaCl2 and zeolite negatively affected B. tectorum emergence and/or biomass. No amendments negatively affected the biomass of H. jamesii but NaCl reduced emergence. Amendment effectiveness depended on year of application and the length of time since application. The medium concentration of zeolite had the strongest negative effect on B. tectorum with little effect on H. jamesii. We conducted a laboratory experiment to determine why zeolite was effective and found it released large amounts of Na+, adsorbed Ca2+, and increased Zn2+, Fe2+, Mn2+, Cu2+, exchangeable Mg2+, exchangeable K, and NH 4 + in the soil. Our results suggest several possible amendments to control B. tectorum. However, variability in effectiveness due to abiotic factors such as precipitation and soil type must be accounted for when establishing management plans.


amendments invasion nutrients salt soil chemistry