Cheatgrass (downy brome) is quickly becoming a noxious nuisance in mountainous regions such as the Estes Park Valley and other parts of Northern Colorado.
Invasive Annual Grass species such as Cheatgrass compete with native & desirable grass species due to their supreme ability to germinate during late-summer and winter months. They quickly gain footing with rapid root development over winter, rapid above ground growth in late-winter and spring, and their penchant for stealing moisture and nutrients before desirable perennials begin their own growth in spring.
Previous treatment options were sporadic at best and needing to be applied inside a very narrow window, while having a high soluability in water. But most importantly, these old treatment options failed to treat the seed bed of noxious invasive species of Cheatgrass, which is an extremely important aspect of mitigation and eradication of noxious annual grasses, as seeds from invasive species of grass can remain viable in the soil and thatch layer for many years.
Fortunately we have been introduced to a new product that has had great success in the mitigation and elimination of Cheatgrass. Most notably at the seedbed level!
Esplanade© applied during the months of Sept-Nov, before the first freeze...has proven to be highly effective at providing pre-emergence control of seedlings by disrupting and inhibiting normal root growth as they try to establish. Because of the low water soluability, and good photo stability of Esplanade©, it can provide up to 3 years of residual protection at the seed bed level!
This is especially important as communities work together to mitigate and control the spread of Cheatgrass. Seeds that blow in from untreated properties will have great difficutly in germinating on areas treated with Esplanade©.
To read more about Esplanade© and to view before and after pictures of areas treated with Esplanade© click on the link below:
To inquire about the treatment of Cheatgrass, please contact Christi at 970-223-4772 or click on the link below:
COMMERCIAL APPLICATORS ARE INSURED AND LICENSED
BY THE COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Questions Asked by a Resident considering the use of Esplanade© as a means for mitigation of Cheatgrass:
1. Most of the yards in our neighborhood are completely natural, I think most people don’t even own a lawnmower. We simply let the yard grow as it wishes. Obviously, we want to get rid of the cheatgrass, but don’t want to have the other vegetation in our yard impacted by Esplanade. The list of grasses and weeds that Esplanade controls/suppresses is large, as the Bayer literature indicates this product is designed for use in “non-residential non-crop areas, railroads and rail yards, managed roadsides, fence rows, utilities, hardscapes, industrial, municipal, and government sites, ….” We want to make sure that this would not negatively impact the other natural/wild grasses and plants that we have in our yards. Can you give us some more details on how Esplanade would impact the other plants (grasses and weeds) growing in our yards?
Answer: With regard to what plants Esplanade effects, think anything Annual. Most desirable plants, shrubs, forbs and flowers are perennial therefore not effected by Esplanade. There will be a few annual wild flowers effected the following year after initial treatment. This same effect would occur with the application of Plateau. But the re-emergence of wildflowers and native grasses has proven to be very promising.
Follow-up Question and Answer: I guess it would probably help if I felt that our yards currently consisted of “desirable plants, shrubs and flowers.” However, I’m not sure that I can make that claim (at least for my yard). My yard is basically indistinguishable from the roadsides heading into the park or down into the valley. Given that, it sounds like I might lose a fair amount of my existing yard. Is that a fair conclusion?
Without having seen your "yard", it is hard for me to make that determination. The use of Esplanade© is specifically applied for the control of Cheatgrass and other noxious annuals. The mitigation of Cheatgrass using Esplanade© has helped with the recovery and re-establishment of desirable native plants and grasses. Cheatgrass and other noxious Annuals are extremely detrimental to the growth of native plants and grasses, and are NOT desirable sources for foraging amongst Deer and Elk populations. Not to mention that Cheatgrass is an extreme fire hazard, and more and more of our customers are being required by their insurance companies to find ways of eliminating it from their properties.
Follow-up Question and Answer: I realize that I also might lose a fair amount of my yard if other products were used (e.g. Plateau). I’m just trying to get a handle on how much of my yard would be lost as a side-effect of eliminating the cheatgrass.
If most of your yard consists of Cheatgrass, you may initially lose most of it, but then it is our belief that you will experience the return of native grasses and plants.
2. Given our location, we have a significant wildlife population that wanders through the neighborhood on a regular basis. It is not uncommon for one to wake up to elk or deer in the yard. I think most people in the neighborhood would agree that we have elk and deer walking through our yards, grazing as they go, several times a week. The PDF that you sent (page 5) specifically indicates that “Grazing or feeding forage, hay or straw from treated areas to livestock is not allowed. If you intend to graze livestock on an area, do not use Esplanade.” Can you please provide more details on the potential harm to livestock (elk and deer) due to ingesting grasses/weeds from areas treated with Esplanade?
Answer: Esplanade is going thru extensive trial studies currently to obtain their Grazing Allowance. They anticipate having a full grazing label by 2020. As for grazing wild animals Esplanade IS an allowable application per the EPA. I have reached out to the Bayer manufacturers rep to see if they have any preliminary data supporting true grazing allowances because they have obtained application permits for true grazed lands for cattle to be eaten this calendar year in both Wyoming and Colorado.
Follow-up Question and Answer: it sounds like Esplanade is currently not approved for grazing. There are still trial studies taking place, and the results of those studies are not yet known. Not only is there a concern for elk and deer, but many of us also have dogs that like to wander the yard and often eat on the various grasses growing in the yard. While this is not a huge portion of their diet, they are also much smaller than an elk or deer (so anything they ingest will impact them more than it would a full-grown elk). Are there any specific disclaimers or warnings regarding pets in areas treated by Esplanade?
The active ingredient in Esplanade© is the same as the active ingredient in Spectacle©, also developed by Bayer that is used as a pre-emergent in lawns and turf areas. As with all chemical applications, we recommend that pets and peoples stay away from treated areas until product is dry, and limit their exposure to treated areas for 6-24 hours after application. I just heard from our chemical rep, and he reports the following from his contact at Bayer: "We have a section 18 “emergency exemption” NO grazing restriction in MT, WY, UT and NV. This means that the EPA has seen enough data to allow for grazing while the label is re-written to include a grazing tolerance. Again the grazing tolerance is for cattle for consumption. The EPA has already deemed the product safe for wild life grazing."
3 The recommended application of Esplanade “must not exceed the maximum label rate (10 fl oz per acre) in a 12-month period” and the stewardship guide recommends “for ground applications use 20-30 gallons per acre (GPA) of total spray mix.” You mention (below) that you use 80-100 gallons per acre. Can you please provide information on what is in your spray mix and why you are spraying differently than the stewardship guide proposes?
Agricultural applications are made at low spray mix rates because they have to cover so much more area, non-crop applications apply at higher spray mix rates because we cover a smaller area. Aerial applications are made at even lower spray rates because a plane can’t carry as much water and they go much further (2 to 5 gallons per Acre spray rate). In the end higher spray rates are better because you accomplish better spray coverage and for pre-emergent applications it helps work the product into the soil. 100 gallons per Acre is the high spray mix rate per the label and we would then be applying the recommended 7-10oz of product per acre.
Follow-up Question and Answer: While I don’t disagree that higher spray rates are good, getting 7 fluid ounces dispersed evenly and consistently in a 100-gallon mixture is not an easy task. How do you ensure uniform distribution of the Esplanade when you are diluting it so heavily?
First, the heavy dilution is an important aspect in saturating sprayed areas where the chemical can more easily be absorbed into the soil. Secondly, all of our spray equipment has a system of continuous agitation while the motor for the pumping system is running. This is an essential aspect of proper spraying systems. Which means, that as long as the motor is running, the tank is agitating whether you are spraying or not.
4. It has been mentioned in our conversations, cheatgrass spreads easily/rapidly. Our house sits downwind (most of the summer) from several neighbors who have significant amounts of cheatgrass in their yard. If we spray our yard, but the neighbors do nothing, then how does that impact our ability to control the cheatgrass? That is, if we eliminate the cheatgrass in our yard, but the neighbor(s) around us do nothing, then will we not have the same issue in a few years as the cheatgrass will have spread back into our yard?
This truly is the piece why we think using Esplanade© will be most advantageous over use of the product Plateau© (which incidentally needs to be applied yearly)! Because Esplanade© treats at the seed bed level, and has a residual of up to 3 years...any seeds that blow in from neighboring/untreated properties will have their ability to propagate severely restricted.
Of course, at the end of the 3 year period, clients will need to decide if they need another round of treatment. It would obviously be of greater benefit to have as many properties as possible choose to treat.
I think it is important to note...that the old standard of using the product Plateau© only treats the existing plants, is highly soluble in water (which means if there is a wet weather period after application, the chemical breaks down rapidly), and lastly...must be applied yearly as it is only treating at the existing plant level and not affecting the seed bed level.
This is why we believe Esplanade© to be the superior option for treating Cheatgrass...it treats at the seed bed level (so any seeds that blow in from untreated areas, or are present in the soil but not yet developed into plants, will be severely mitigated from propagating), has low water solubility (meaning it will remain in the soil despite weather conditions), and has a 3 year residual (needing to be sprayed once every 3 years or as needed at the end of the 3 year period).
COMMERCIAL APPLICATORS ARE INSURED AND LICENSED
BY THE COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Untreated Portion of Property
Same property-area treated with Plateau 2nd year after application
Same property-area treated with Esplanade© 2nd year after application
***Note the return of native perennials and the absence of cheatgrass!!