Stop Invasive Annual Grasses from Destroying Western Ecosystems

June 6, 2019

Protect land today and for future tomorrows with Esplanade® herbicide

CARY, N.C., June 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- An invader has been moving across the Western United States, degrading wildlife habitat, putting protected and threatened species like the Sage Grouse and desert tortoise at risk, reducing ecosystem diversity and fostering more frequent wildfires.

Cheatgrass, medusahead, ventenata, Japanese brome and red brome are the most aggressive species of invasive annual grasses. As they choke out desirable perennial grasses, forbs and shrubs that once covered the Western states, they are leaving behind a dense thatch layer that greatly increases wildfire frequency.

"Native perennial grasses grow in bunches with bare ground around them," said Harry Quicke, Bayer western stewardship and development manager. "The thatch layer created by invasive annual grasses results in a continuous carpet of fine fuel, which puts people and communities at risk and perpetuates the cycle of ecosystem degradation. Just one example is the 2018 fire season in Nevada where invasive annual grass-fueled wildfires devastated 1.2 million acres of rangeland."

Early detection and rapid response are critical to bringing back native grasses. "Land managers of all types need to focus first on protecting those high priority areas where there is still evidence of desirable perennial grasses, forbs and shrubs," Quicke continued.

In the past, herbicide treatments have been inconsistent or only provide control of these grasses for a short period of time, which allows sites to be re-invaded by the annual grass soil seed bank as early as the next growing season. Esplanade® 200 SC herbicide from Bayer is changing that. It's a pre-emergent rangeland restoration tool that is showing consistent control over multiple years with just one application.

Researchers at Colorado State University were among the first to recognize the potential for Esplanade as a rangeland restoration tool. From this base, trials were initiated across the west. There are now more than 100 replicated field trials documenting the ability of Esplanade to restore invasive annual grass infested natural areas and rangeland. A total of 13 universities and agencies are involved in this research program.

Each year, invasive annual grasses add seeds to the soil seed bank. If they can be prevented from germinating with a tool like Esplanade, the soil seed bank will be depleted.

"Esplanade is effective for long-term cheatgrass control and we have research plots outside of Ft. Collins where Esplanade applications have resulted in very little cheatgrass emergence after five years," said Dr. Scott Nissen, Extension weed specialist, Colorado State University. "In our more than 30 research trials with Esplanade, we're seeing consistency better than 90 percent control and many approach 100 percent."

"We're seeing that Esplanade can have a huge impact on restoring invasive annual grass infested open space areas and rangelands in the West," said Derek Sebastian, Bayer area sales manager. "What a unique opportunity it is to have such a positive impact on the West and to witness the potential this tool has to increase our restoration success. We can now provide consistent long-term control and turn the tide on continued invasive annual grass devastation."

To learn more about how to protect land today and for future tomorrow's with Esplanade 200 SC herbicide, contact your Bayer sales representative or call 800-331-2867. Find more information about Esplanade at

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