Using activated carbon to limit herbicide effects to seeded bunchgrass when revegetating annual grass-invaded rangelands.
Revegetation of exotic annual grass-invaded rangelands is challenging as annuals rapidly reinvade after control treatments. The most effective control of exotic annual grass is usually achieved with pre-emergent herbicides; however, species seeded simultaneously with these herbicides will likely experience nontarget damage. Thus, seeding often occurs 1 yr later to reduce herbicide effects to seeded vegetation, but by this time annual grasses may already be reinvading and limiting revegetation success. Activated carbon can be used to protect seeded species from herbicide damage because it has a high absorption capacity that can deactivate many herbicides. A pot study in a grow-room suggested that a pod containing activated carbon and seeds, herbicide protection pods (HPPs), may allow desired species to be seeded simultaneously with annual grass control with the preemergent herbicide imazapic. However, HPPs have not been field tested. We evaluated two seeding treatments (crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum [Fisch.] Schult.)) incorporated into HPPs and bare seed, simultaneously with an imazapic application to control annual grasses at two sites invaded by cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae [L.] Nevski). Crested wheatgrass abundance was 300% greater with HPPs compared with bare seed in late June. Imazapic application reduced exotic annual grass density at both sites by approximately half. These results suggest that HPPs can be used to allowdesired species to be seeded simultaneously with imazapic application. This will allow seeded species a longer window to become established before experiencing pressure from exotic annuals and enable a single-entry approach compared with multiple entries currently employed to revegetate annual grass-invaded rangelands. Though further field testing is needed, in particular with multiple species and higher herbicide applications rates, these results suggest that HPPs could improve our ability to restore and revegetate exotic annual grass-invaded rangelands.