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Invading weed threatens devastation to western rangelands
Date:11/11/2010

ymptoms but doesn't get to the underlying problem. If we're going to stop something like medusahead, we have to better understand its ecology and find ways to compete with it."

The new study one of the first of its type is a step toward that, she said. Researchers now have a better target to aim at, in identifying plants that have some ecological characteristics similar to medusahead, and are useful species that may be able to better compete with it once they are established.

"However, this plant is easier to keep out than it is to get rid of," Mangla said. "The time to stop it from taking over the West is now, before it becomes much more widely established. And it has not gotten the attention it deserves."

This research was just published in the Journal of Arid Environments. It was done by OSU and the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, which is a joint cooperative between the OSU Agricultural Experiment Station and the Agricultural Research Service. This project was part of an area-wide program managing annual grassland ecosystems by the USDA-ARS. It included two years of field studies in 2008 and 2009 near Burns, Ore., in which medusahead growth in specific plots was compared to that of other species.

"Our results suggest that the continued invasion and dominance of medusahead onto native grasslands will continue to increase in severity," the researchers wrote in their report.


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Contact: Seema Mangla
seema.mangla@oregonstate.edu
541-737-8475
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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