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Selected forage crops control foxtail barley and downy brome in saline soils

Steppuhn, H., Wall, K.G., Iwaasa, A.D., Blackshaw, R.E., Dunn, R., Westerlund, D. (2017). Selected forage crops control foxtail barley and downy brome in saline soils, 98(2), 408-424.


© Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada 2018. The ability of forage crops to out-compete foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum L.) and downy brome (Bromus tectorum L.) weeds often fails in saline soils. Ten forage treatments [alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)], Nuttall’s salt-meadow grass [Puccinellia nuttalliana (Schult.) Hitchc.], smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.), the “Saltmaster” forage blend, and six wheatgrass treatments: western [Pascopyrum smithii (Rydb.) Löve], northern [Elymus kronokensis (Kom.) Tzvelev], tall [Thinopyrum ponticum (Podp.) Barkw. & Dewey], and green (Elymus hoffmannii Jensen & Asay) in 30 and 15 cm rows and alternating rows with slender [Elymus trachycaulus (Link) Gould] were compared with plots left unseeded. After three growing seasons, the smooth bromegrass, tall, and the average for the three green wheatgrass treatments, respectively, limited foxtail barley shoot growth to 4%, 2%, and 1% of the total shoot biomass at a negligibly to moderately saline site near Warner, AB; downy brome was also limited to 4%, 4%, and 2%, respectively. The three green wheatgrass treatments at the moderately to severely saline site near Alsask, SK, required twice the time to limit foxtail barley growth to 5%, 8%, and 18%, respectively, of the total. At least 95% of the foxtail barley and 98% of the downy brome were suppressed by green wheatgrass in soils averaging ≤14 dS m−1.

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