The University of Arizona

Vegetation changes following brush control in creosotebush communities.

H.L. Morton, A. Melgoza


Changes in herbaceous plant density and canopy cover of creosotebush (Larrea tridentata Sesse & Moc. ex DC) and associated shrubs following brush control treatments were measured in Sonoran and Chihuahuan Desert communities. Treatments were applied in 2 successive years st the Santa Rita Experimental range, Arizona, and 3 locations in Chihuahua, Mexico. Across all locations and years 1.5 kg/ha tebuthiuron (N-[5-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1,3,4-thiadiazol-2-yl]-N,N'-dimethylurea) > 1.0 kg/ha tebuthiuron= disking = disking with furrowing >2-way railing >0.5 kg/ha tebuthiuron > land imprinting in reducing canopy cover of creosotebush and associated shrubs. At the Santa Rita Experimental Range annual precipitation was above long-term mean in 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985; and grass density increased on all treated and untreated plots. Annual precipitation was below long-term mean during 1986 and 1987 and grass density decreased on both treated and untreated plots but did not decrease to pre-treatment densities. Forb densities were less than 3 plants/m2 throughout the study, except in 1987 when Russian thistle (Salsola iberica Sennen & Pau) increased on all plots. At the Chihuahuan locations, grass densities usually increased during the first year of the study, but very low precipitation throughout the study caused subsequent reductions in grass and forb densities. In dry years brush control treatments did not increase herbaceous plant density.


land imprinting;railing;chihuahuan desert;Sonoran Desert;Larrea tridentata;xerophytes;tillage;manual weed control;discing;deserts;tebuthiuron;brush control;Mexico;forbs;shrubs;plant density;botanical composition;canopy;grasses;Arizona

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