Brome Grass

Brome grass, a type of grass weed, is commonly found throughout various wheat-growing regions worldwide. It is an annual plant that competes strongly with crops and pastures, significantly reducing productivity. Its seeds can contaminate grain samples and cause harm to livestock.

Brome grass poses a significant threat as a weed, and it is prevalent in both low and high rainfall cropping areas. Its presence as a problematic weed is increasing due to factors such as more frequent cropping cycles, reduced tillage practices, and the lack of effective herbicides for controlling it in cereal crops.

Identification

Bromus tectorum, commonly known as brome grass, is a plant that can grow as an annual or winter annual. It is native to the Mediterranean region. Brome grass can vary in height, ranging from 2 to 36 inches. Each plant consists of multiple upright stems. The inflorescences, which are multi-branched, are located at the ends of the stems. They have a slender, dense, and usually drooping appearance, turning greenish purple when mature.

The spikelets of brome grass are slender and nodding, measuring between 3/8 and 3/4 of an inch in length. At the end of the spikelets, there are awns that typically range from 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch long. The sheaths of the leaves have flat blades and are densely covered with soft hairs. Cheat grass reproduces exclusively through seeds, and its root system consists of fibrous and fleshy roots.

Ecological requirements

Brome grass exhibits vigorous growth in various soil types. This weed possesses an extensive and shallow root system, with numerous root hairs that aid in extracting a significant amount of soil water. It can tolerate a temperature range of 5-15 °C and requires an average annual rainfall between 100-650mm. Brome grass is also capable of thriving in alkaline soils. It shows a preference for heavy, light, and medium-textured soils, and it exhibits special tolerances towards infertile, saline, and shallow soils.

Adaptation of Brome grass to various environmental conditions

Brome grass demonstrates remarkable adaptability to diverse environmental conditions. It possesses a high reproductive potential and its propagules can maintain viability for extended periods, surpassing one year. Brome grass exhibits a notable ability to thrive in different environments, showcasing its adaptability. It also demonstrates high local mobility and has proven to be invasive beyond its native range. Additionally, it tolerates or even benefits from various factors such as cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, and fire.

Distribution of Brome grass

The distribution of B. tectorum in central Asia is extensive, and its native range is generally considered to include the Balkans in Europe. However, in Europe, B. tectorum is predominantly regarded as an introduced species west of the Balkans. It is widely found in southwestern Spain, but its occurrence in Europe beyond the Balkans is considered adventive. In the Middle East, B. tectorum is common, and it is also present across North Africa in regions with a Mediterranean-type climate. However, west of Egypt, it may be considered adventive. In the eastern regions, the native range of B. tectorum extends into China, likely limited to Xinjiang province. Its presence in India is likely restricted to the northern areas. Due to its long association with winter cereal grain production and range livestock grazing, it is challenging to distinguish its native habitat from the regions where it was introduced in pre-history.

Disadvantages of Brome grass

  • It can act as a suitable host for various pests, including nematodes and cereal diseases like barley net blotch and bunt.
  • Brome grass reduces crop yields significantly. It has been estimated that even as few as 100 B. tectorum plants per square meter can decrease winter wheat production by 27-36%.
  • Mature brome grass can cause harm to livestock, leading to conditions such as lump jaw in cattle. This occurs when the plants infect the eyes or mouth, resulting in infections.
  • Mature brome grass poses a serious fire hazard due to its dry nature, potentially causing wildfires.
  • The seeds of brome grass can contaminate wool and cause damage to animal hides and meat. They can also cause injuries to the eyes and mouth of animals. Ingesting the seeds can puncture the intestines, leading to the death of animals.
  • Brome grass can disrupt and damage ecosystem services, affecting the overall health and functioning of the ecosystem.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

  • Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic):

The seeds of B. tectorum are not easily dispersed by wind due to their weight, and wind does not play a significant role in their dispersal.

  • Vector Transmission (Biotic):

The seeds of B. tectorum have the ability to attach themselves to animal fur and human clothing. In rangeland environments, rodents play a role in collecting and dispersing hoarded seeds of B. tectorum.

  • Agricultural Practices:

The common methods of dispersing B. tectorum in agricultural settings involve planting contaminated seeds and providing livestock with contaminated hay or grain, which contribute to its spread.

  • Accidental Introduction:

A common way that B. tectorum is unintentionally introduced is through the utilization of cereal straw infested with the weed for erosion control during construction projects. This serves as a significant method of dispersal for the species.

Uses of brome grass

  • Brome grass is utilized for various purposes such as hay production, pasture grazing, and forage preservation as silage or stockpiling.
  • It is commonly employed as straw for erosion control due to its extensive root system and ability to form a sod.
  • Brome grass is compatible with alfalfa and other suitable legumes. It is known for its high palatability, substantial protein content, and relatively low crude-fiber content.
  • Additionally, brome grass is utilized in roadside site rehabilitation efforts to restore and stabilize disturbed areas.

Hosts plants affected

  • Brome grass can negatively impact winter wheat and barley crops.
  • It can also affect host plants such as alfalfa and lucerne.
  • Another host plant susceptible to brome grass is the grapevine.

Greenlife solutions to Brome grass

Cultural Control

Brome grass can be easily uprooted due to its shallow root system, as long as the removal is carried out before the grass disperses its seeds.

Mowing can also be employed during the blooming stages of brome grass. However, since the short plants may escape the mower blades, they have the opportunity to produce seeds.

Chemical Control

At Greenlife, we offer a range of non-selective and selective herbicides to address different vegetation control needs. Our non-selective herbicides are designed to eradicate all vegetation that comes into contact with them. Here are some of our non-selective herbicide options:

  • CATAPULT 480 SL: This highly effective non-selective herbicide is applied at a rate of 300ml per 20L of water. It can be used at all stages of brome grass growth and is particularly useful during land preparation or when zero or minimum tillage practices are employed.
  • WEMBE 200 SL: Recommended for fields with tougher weeds, WEMBE 200 SL is a non-selective post-emergence herbicide. It eradicates all weeds on your fields and is applied at a rate of 300ml in 20L of water.
  • HURICANE 200 SL: Another fast-acting non-selective post-emergence herbicide, HURICANE 200 SL, is suitable for plain fields. It effectively controls a wide range of weeds and is applied at a rate of 150ml in 20L of water.

For selective control of specific plant types, we offer the following herbicide:

  • DIGESTER SUPPER 69 EW: This selective post-emergence herbicide is designed to control grasses specifically in wheat fields. It is applied at a rate of 100ml in 20L of water and should be used when brome grass is actively growing for optimal control.

Please consult our experts to determine the most suitable herbicide for your specific needs and to ensure proper application.

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