Indaziflam controls non-native annual mustards but negatively affects native forbs in sagebrush steppe
Rew, Lisa J.
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Nonnative plant invasions can have devastating effects on native plant communities; conversely, management efforts can have nontarget and deleterious impacts on desirable plants. In the arid sagebrush steppe rangelands of the western United States, nonnative winter annual species affect forage production and biodiversity. One method proposed to control these species is to suppress the soil seedbank using the preemergent herbicide indaziflam. Our goal was to evaluate the efficacy of indaziflam to control nonnative annual mustards (Alyssum spp.) and to understand potential nontarget effects of management on the diverse mountain sagebrush steppe plant communities within Yellowstone National Park. Six sites were established along an elevation gradient (1,615 to 2,437 m), each with high and low Alyssum spp. infestations. We applied 63g ai ha−1 of indaziflam in late summer of 2018 and evaluated plant community cover in situ for 2 yr after treatment and emergence of forb species from the soil seedbank ex situ. Indaziflam was highly effective at controlling emergence of Alyssum spp. for 2 yr. Richness and Shannon’s diversity of the nontarget plant community were significantly lower in sprayed plots than in the control, and both decreased along the elevation gradient. These reductions were due to a decrease in perennial forbs and native annual forbs in the sprayed plots; perennial graminoids were not affected. Overall, the aboveground and seedbank community composition was negatively impacted by indaziflam, and these effects were strongest for the native annual forbs that rely on annual regeneration from the seedbank. The effects of this herbicide to the nontarget community should be evaluated beyond the length of our study time; however, we conclude that indaziflam should likely be reserved for use in areas that are severely invaded and have seedbanks that are composed of nondesirable species rather than diverse, native mountain sagebrush communities.
Meyer-Morey J, Lavin M, Mangold J, Zabinski C, and Rew LJ (2021) Indaziflam controls nonnative Alyssum spp. but negatively affects native forbs in sagebrush steppe. Invasive Plant Sci. Manag 14: 253–261. doi: 10.1017/inp.2021.31