The University of Arizona

Spotted knapweed response to season and frequency of mowing.

M.J. Rinella, J.S. Jacobs, R.L. Sheley, J.J. Borkowski


Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa Lam.) is a non-indigenous weed that has invaded millions of hectares of rangeland in the United States. Mowing may be useful for reducing this weed. Our objective was to investigate the response of spotted knapweed and grasses to season and frequency of mowing. Response of grass and spotted knapweed to 16 mowing treatments applied annually for 3 years was studied at 2 sites. Treatments consisted of combinations of spring, summer, and fall mowing. Treatments were arranged in a randomized-complete-block design with 4 replications (16 treatments; 4 replications; 2 sites = 128 plots). After repeating mowing treatments for 3 years, a single fall mowing when spotted knapweed was in the flowering or seed producing stage reduced its cover and adult density as much as any treatment consisting of repeated mowing. Fall mowing decreased adult density 85 and 83% below that of the control at Sites 1 and 2, respectively. Treatments reduced seedling density at Site 2, but the response was not consistent between years or among treatments. Spotted knapweed cover was decreased by several mowing treatments at each site (10-36%), while grass cover was only decreased by 3 mowing treatments (18-23%) at Site 1 in 1998. We recommend a single annual mowing, applied at the flowering or seed producing stage, for the partial control of spotted knapweed.



flowering;mowing;timing;autumn;weed control;rain;seedlings;cutting frequency;spring;summer;plant density;centaurea maculosa;biomass;plant litter;introduced species;Montana;invasive species;canopy;grasses

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