Efficacy of Herbicides to Control Bermudagrass for Enhancement of Northern Bobwhite Habitat

Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) provides unsuitable vegetative structure for northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) by out-competing native vegetation, impeding foraging and movement of bobwhite chicks, and increasing heat loads. During 2000-2002, we examined the efficacy of four herbicides (three grass-selective translocated herbicides [GSH]; Clethodim, Fluazifop/Fenoxaprop, and Quizalofop; and one non-selective translocated herbicide: Imazapyr) for bermudagrass control in burned and unburned experiments in a field on River Bend Wildlife Management Area, Laurens County, Georgia. Herbicide treatments reduced bermudagrass cover 30 day, 60 day, and one year post-application (P < 0.05). Imazapyr resulted in complete necrosis of bermudagrass at 30 and 60 days post-application in both burned and unburned experimental plots. The GSH were not as effective, reducing bermudagrass coverage by only 50%-51% and 29%-42% on all plots 30 days and 60 days post-application, respectively. One year post-application, unburned plots treated with Imazapyr consisted of 77% less bermudagrass (4% coverage), 13% more thatch (18% coverage), 0.3% more bare ground (0.6% coverage), 41% more forbs (84% coverage), and 18% more partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasiculata; 30% coverage) than all other unburned herbicide treatment and control plots. Burned plots treated with Imazapyr consisted of 87% less bermudagrass (4% coverage), 10% more bare ground (11% coverage), 26% more forbs (84% coverage), and 10% more partridge pea (63% coverage) than all other burned herbicide treatment and control plots. Prescribed burning in the spring followed by applying Imazapyr in the summer was most effective for reducing bermudagrass cover and enhancing habitat for bobwhite quail. Key Words: bermudagrass, herbicide efficacy

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