NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Get to Know an Invasive Species: Cheatgrass

Cheatgrass - as far as the eye can see.

Everyone has run into this pesky invasive species. It sticks to your socks and shoes and even in your dog’s paws. It raids lawns and gardens. This invasive species has taken over numerous beautiful areas in Nevada; including Water Canyon, a local recreation area. The abundance of cheatgrass takes away from the native landscape. Good luck getting rid of this plant now; it will just keep taking over. In Nevada cheatgrass is a huge issue and it is difficult to control.

photo courtesy of Steve Dewey,
Utah State University,

Some ways to indentify cheatgrass:

- Stems are slender and several inches tall
- Leaf sheaths and blades are covered in short, soft hairs
- Leaves can be up to eight inches long
- Root is finely divided into fibrous roots
- Cheatgrass is annual, meaning it completes its lifecycle in one year
- Invades rangelands, prairies, and pastures; widespread in Pershing, Humboldt (lucky us!), Lander, and Eureka counties
- Potential to completely alter the ecosystem it invades by replacing native vegetation and changing fire regimes; burns very fast and hot

Some ways to control this pesky plant is frequent mowing or tillage, fire under controlled conditions (let’s leave that to the land managers though!) You can help stop the spread of this invasive by washing vehicles and ATVs after an outdoor adventure, shaking your tent out, and bathing your pets. If everyone lends a hand this invasive species it can be controlled.

- Nemo

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