The continued threat of an invasive, annual brome (Bromus) species in the western United States has created the need for integrated approaches to postfire restoration. Additionally, the high germination rate, high seed production, and seed bank carryover of annual bromes points to the need to assay soil seed banks as part of monitoring programs. We sampled the soil seed bank to help assess the effectiveness of treatments utilizing the herbicide Plateau® (imazapic) and a perennial native seed mix to control annual Bromus species and enhance perennial native plant establishment following a wildfire in Zion National Park, Utah. This study is one of few that have monitored the effects of imazapic and native seeding on a soil seed bank community and the only one that we know of that has done so in a pinyon–juniper woodland. The study made use of untreated, replicated controls, which is not common for seed bank studies. One year posttreatment, Bromus was significantly reduced in plots sprayed with herbicide. By the second year posttreatment, the effects of imazapic were less evident and convergence with the controls was evident. Emergence of seeded species was low for the duration of the study. Dry conditions and possible interactions with imazapic probably contributed to the lack of emergence of seeded native species. The perennial grass sand dropseed outperformed the other species included in the seed mix. We also examined how the treatments affected the soil seed bank community as a whole. We found evidence that the herbicide was reducing several native annual forbs and one nonnative annual forb. However, overall effects on the community were not significant. The results of our study were similar to what others have found in that imazapic is effective in providing a short-term reduction in Bromus density, although it can impact emergence of nontarget species.
Additional publication details
Soil Seed Bank Responses to Postfire Herbicide and Native Seeding Treatments Designed to Control Bromus tectorum in a Pinyon–Juniper Woodland at Zion National Park, USA