Research: in progress
A comprehensive look at invasive annual grasses
We are examining how four invasive annual grasses (cheatgrass, Japense brome, Ventenata, and medusahead) are impacting our economy, forage quality, and rangeland biodiversity. We sampled at a total of 13 sites across Montana in 2017 and will be researching litter decomposition and litter effects on germination from 2017 to 2018.
Noxious weeds and Montana grazing lands: An economic perspective
We developed a 16-question survey concerning noxious weed management and associated costs. The target audience for the survey was livestock producers who were grazing their livestock on privately-owned rangeland in Montana. See our article in a recent issue of the Montana IPM bulletin for results.
A meta-analysis of previous Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) and field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) control and mangement studies
We are using meta-analysis, to 1) provide land managers with effective control measures for Canada thistle and field bindweed based on current knowledge, 2) systematically compile methods to manage impacted sites, and 3) identify existing knowledge gaps in the management of these two species.
The effect of herbicide application and soil texture on hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana) seed biology and control
Hoary alyssum can be difficult to manage, possibly due to its prolonged flowering period when populations are simultaneously flowering and producing seeds, in addition to the fact that it often grows on coarsely textured soils where control with herbicides may be reduced. Our objectives of this project are to 1) quantify hoary alyssum seed production and viability as influenced by herbicide application and 2) determine the influence of soil texture on efficacy of herbicides applied to hoary alyssum. This project started summer 2016.
Mitigating priority effects of invasive plants during revegetation by altering perennial grass planting date
Modifying seeding date may be one ecologically-based management tool to increase establishment of seeded species by giving them an initial size advantage over weedy species that emerge later. This project is exploring how timing of planting of desirable perennial grasses (bluebunch wheatgrass) might overcome the priority effects of seedlings of the invasive plants spotted knapweed and cheatgrass. It is our hope that this research will improve efficacy of revegetation efforts on lands dominated by spotted knapweed and cheatgrass in Montana and other semi-arid regions. This project started fall 2015.
Management strategies for control of narrowleaf hawksbeard
Narrowleaf hawksbeard is not a state listed noxious weed, but it is becoming increasingly problematic in Montana cropland and CRP lands, especially in the northeastern part of the state. We are working with MSU Extension Agents to test various management strategies for control of narrowleaf hawksbeard. This project started in 2015, with mowing and herbicide treatments being applied to two sites in Daniels County and Valley County.
Monitoring a new invader: medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) in Sanders County
The presence of medusahead, an invasive annual grass, was confirmed in Montana for the first time in 2013. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, MSU researchers from the Mangold lab surveyed frequency of medusahead, along with other plant functional groups, at the confirmed site. This monitoring project will allow us to track the rate and spread of medusahead. Click here to download a MSU Extension bulletin on medusahead.
Integrating Pyrenophora semeniperda into cheatgrass management in range and croplands
I am investigating the effect of P. semeniperda on target (Bromus tectorum) and non-target species in a greenhouse study. Future studies will evaluate if a fungicide seed treatment can prevent or reduce P. semeniperda infection and mortality of non-target species. I am also determining which combination of three cheatgrass plant stages (early flowering, peak flowering, and after seed maturation) and three inoculation timings (morning, evening, none) enhance P. semeniperda infection. I am finally seeing if cultural, chemical, and biological practices can be integrated to improve cheatgrass management in crop and rangeland settings.
Rangeland resilience - when is revegetation necessary?
The objective of this project is to determine how an herbicide application for target weeds affects abundance of rangeland plant functional groups one and two years post-spraying. Aminopyralid (Milestone®) was applied at two spotted knapweed infested rangeland sites and two sulfur cinquefoil infested rangeland sites, while picloram (Tordon®) was applied at two Dalmatian toadflax infested rangeland sites. We have collected data in 2014 and 2015, one and two years post-treatment.
Rangeland revegetation revisited: are short-term trends indicative of long-term outcomes?
PDF (Copyright by the Ecological Society of America)