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Chemical Control


Chemical control involves the application of herbicides (chemical compounds) that kill or injure plants. There are many kinds of herbicides; some are derived from plants and others are manufactured synthetically. Herbicides are generally classified in terms of their mode of action, and interfere with plant metabolisms in a variety of ways. The choice of which herbicide is best for a particular situation depends on the target species, the presence of desirable plant species, soil texture, depth and distance to water, and environmental conditions (Bussan and Dyer 1999). Chemical control works best for:

  • eradicating pure stands of a single species where desirable non-target plants are scarce or absent;
  • rhizomatous species that are unpalatable to wildlife and livestock, require repeated pulling or cutting for control, or are located in remote areas where pulling or cutting are not feasible; and
  • small patches of invasive species where hand pulling or cutting is not effective or feasible.

Buffelgrass can be controlled using chemical applications when the plant is >50% green and is actively growing, which occurs most reliably for a 2-6 week period following the onset of the summer rainy period from mid July to the end of August (sometimes into September) in Southern Arizona. All chemical applications should be conducted as per the labeling instructions.

Works Cited: Bussan, A.J., and W.E. Dyer. 1999. Herbicides and rangeland. Pp. 116-132. In: R.L. Sheley and J.K. Petroff (eds.). Biology and Management of Noxious Rangeland Weeds. Oregon State University Press. Corvallis, Oregon. 438pp.

Additional information on estimating "green-ness" is available on the Buffelgrass Phenology Tracker