If you have an annoying outbreak of brome grass invading your yard, we’ll show you the most effective natural and chemical ways to rid yourself of this pesky weed for good.
We’ll cover everything from the simplest weed puller tactics to tricky herbicides and sneaky smothering methods – whatever suits your lawn, garden beds, or farm field needs.
Let’s jump in and uncover the secrets to finally eliminating brome weed from your property once and for all. The brome grass won’t know what hit it!
- What Is Brome Grass?
- How To Identify Brome Grass?
- Why Is Brome Grass Bad?
- How To Eliminate Brome Grass?
What Is Brome Grass?
Brome grass, scientifically known as Bromus, encompasses a wide-ranging genus of grasses comprising around 160 species within the Poaceae family, commonly referred to as the grass family.
These grasses are distributed globally, with different species adapted to thrive in various regions and climates, making them a common sight in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Indigenous communities have historically used certain brome grass species for medicinal purposes and as a food source.
Brome grass is characterized by narrow leaves that are folded lengthwise when young, spike-like seed heads are arranged in pairs, extensive networks of rhizomes and stolons, and an ability to form thick thatch layers.
Brome grass has low forage value for livestock due to coarseness and low palatability.
It grows rapidly early and late in the growing season.
How To Identify Brome Grass?
Here’s how to identify Brome grass.
Tell #1: Seed Heads
One of the most telling features of brome grass is its seed heads.
They form a loose, open arrangement, distinct from other grass varieties’ tightly packed seed heads.
Tell #2: Appearance
Brome grass exhibits distinct characteristics that differentiate it from other grass types.
Look for slender stems with long, drooping seed heads that can appear in shades of purplish or greenish.
The leaves of brome grass are typically flat and smooth, featuring a prominent midrib running through the center.
Tell #3: Habitat
Brome grass often thrives in disturbed areas, such as roadsides, ditches, and overgrazed pastures.
However, it can infiltrate your garden if given the opportunity.
Therefore, watch for this grassy invader in locations where it tends to flourish.
Tell #4: Leaf Arrangement
Brome grass leaves are typically smooth, with edges that may be either smooth or slightly hairy.
Unlike some other grasses, they lack fine hairs that lend a velvety texture.
Tell #5: Time of Year
Brome grass usually reveals itself during its flowering period, typically in late spring to early summer.
This is when those distinct seed heads make their appearance, allowing you to spot the grass culprit with more certainty.
Why Is Brome Grass Bad?
While every plant has its place in nature, brome grass can become problematic for several reasons:
- Brome grass spreads rapidly and aggressively, outcompeting other plants for resources and disrupting the balance of the ecosystem.
- It crowds out and smothers native or cultivated plants, reducing biodiversity and hampering the ecosystem’s overall health.
- Brome grass has a coarse and weedy appearance, diminishing the visual appeal of gardens and landscapes.
- Brome grass can host insects and plant diseases that spread to vegetables, ornamentals, and other desirable plants. This includes aphids, leafhoppers, and rust fungi.
- Like other grass pollen, brome grass pollen can trigger sneezing, coughing, and other allergy and asthma symptoms in sensitive individuals during late spring and early summer.
- Some brome grass species dry out in summer, becoming prone to ignition and contributing to the rapid spread of wildfires in fire-prone areas.
- Brome grass possesses extensive root systems and prolific seed production, making it challenging to eradicate and requiring ongoing, time-consuming control efforts.
How To Eliminate Brome Grass?
Here are some methods to eliminate Brome grass.
Method #1: Tilling
Deep tilling to uproot brome grass plants can provide control.
However, rhizomes and roots can regenerate from fragments left behind, so tilling might not be a permanent solution.
Method #2: Mowing
Mow brome grass very short and frequently to weaken the plants.
This works best in combination with other control methods.
Mow 2-3 times per week during the growing season.
Method #3: Crop Rotation
Plant competitive crops like alfalfa that inhibit brome grass growth.
Leave those competitive crops in place for multiple seasons to weaken brome grass.
Method #4: Mulching
Applying a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, helps suppress brome grass growth while providing valuable nutrients to your plants.
Additionally, mulch helps retain soil moisture, reducing the need for excessive watering.
Method #5: Herbicides
Glyphosate (Roundup) and aminopyralid (Milestone) are effective herbicides for killing brome grass.
Follow the label directions carefully when applying herbicides.
Method #6: Grazing
Goats and sheep will feed on young, actively growing brome grass, damaging leaves and stems.
Over time, this removal of foliage and trampling of soil by grazing animals can damage and kill brome grass plants.
While brome grass presents challenges, effective strategies exist to gain control over time through combining chemical and non-chemical tactics tailored to specific situations.
While vigilance is required, every reclaimed acre helps pave the way for diverse, resilient landscapes to flourish again.