Effects of aminocyclopyrachlor herbicide on downy brome (Bromus tectorum) seed production under field conditions.
Previous research has shown that pyridine growth regulator herbicides can affect seed production in annual grasses including downy brome, Japanese brome, wheat, and other cereal grain crops. Aminocyclopyrachlor is a pyridine carboxylic acid growth regulator herbicide that has recently been registered for broadleaf weed and brush control in nonagricultural areas, which may help facilitate release of native perennial grasses in native plant restoration sites. The influence of aminocyclopyrachlor on downy brome seed production was evaluated at multiple application rates and timings under controlled field conditions. The effect of aminocyclopyrachlor on seed production was compared with aminopyralid, another pyridine growth regulator herbicide. When applied to downy brome plants in the early vegetative stage (EPOST) at approximately 580 growing degree days (GDD), aminocyclopyrachlor at 320 g ae ha-1 reduced seed germination by 50 to 88% in the first and second study years, respectively. Aminopyralid reduced seed germination by 94% in the first study year, but only 20% in the second year. When applied to downy brome plants in the early heading stage at approximately 1,235 GDD (LPOST), aminocyclopyrachlor at 320 g ae ha-1 reduced seed germination by 100% both years. Aminopyralid reduced seed germination by 95% in the first year, and 81% in the second year. Other than the observed reduction in seed germination, herbicides did not produce any visible changes in downy brome aboveground plant growth or development. Because downy brome seeds are relatively short-lived in soil, aminocyclopyrachlor and aminopyralid applications to downy brome-infested rangelands and other natural areas could result in reductions in downy brome population densities over time. No published data exist on the effect of aminocyclopyrachlor on seed production of desirable perennial grasses in natural ecosystems, thereby suggesting the need for further research.