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Notes on the Perennial Cool-Season Invasive Grasses of the Northern Great Plains Workshop.

Kentucky bluegrass
Kentucky bluegrass

Given that Spring thaw is upon us, the release of abstracts and the recorded presentations of NDSU’s conference on “Perennial Cool-Season Invasive Grasses of the Northern Great Plains Workshop” could not have been more timely.

The workshop was developed for land managers and regional livestock producers to provide updates on the latest research and management options and featured presenters from across the Great Plains in the U.S. and Canada. These speakers addressed the ecological drivers of invasion, a diversity of management strategies, and the frequency of management applications.

The keynote topic was: “Roots matter: How smooth brome alters the structure of soil microbial communities and soil ecosystem services” by Dr. Eric Lamb – Department of Plant Sciences - University of Saskatchewan – Saskatoon, SK. Topics on our three big cool season invaders, smooth brome, crested wheatgrass, and Kentucky bluegrass included ecology, management strategy, livestock nutrient supply, and the use of prescribed fire. Prescribed fire remains a difficult topic, but it is one we ought to be discussing more.

Close to thirty presentations were listed, 19 of which were oral, and the remainder were poster presentations. All of the abstracts can be found on the conference’s Abstracts page and the oral presentations can be found on the event website’s Recorded Presentations page. SD NRCS’s Lealand Schoon’s oral presentation “Thinning out smooth bromegrass invasion” is also on the website.

As the spring of 2023 comes and goes, we hope that more awareness of cool-season invasive grasses is raised; while some of these materials are heavy going, this is the opportunity to take a deep dive into this problem, its nature, and the multiplicity of tools we can use to address it. We highly recommend you scan the abstracts, listen to some of the presentations, and trust that these open the door to more innovations that will help improve rangeland health.


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