Breaking News! Slender False Brome, Invasive Grass Found in New York

From Steve Young: Slender false brome grass (Brachypodium sylvaticum) was recently found in Bergen Swamp in western New York by naturalist Steve Daniel. Until now this invasive grass was only found in Oregon where it has been a serious invader covering tens of thousands of acres, and also recently in Virginia and Northern California. Active attempts at control are underway in these states. This plant can form extremely dense solid stands in a variety of habitats, eliminating native vegetation. It has probably been in New York for some time and been overlooked because it resembles other brome grasses or species of Elymus.

Steve has corresponded and sent several photos and specimens to Tom Kaye, Ph.D., of the Institute for Applied Ecology in Corvallis, Oregon, and Rob Naczi of the New York Botanical Garden and it has been confirmed as Brachypodium sylvaticum. Tom has been a key player in a partnership of The Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service, USDI BLM, and other organizations, and they have formed a “False-Brome Working Group” that has been active in outreach and investigating effective means of control. See the websites:

http://www.appliedeco.org/invasive-species-resources/FBWG

http://www.calapooia.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/FB_brochure.pdf

Tom has been extremely helpful in sharing his experience with this species in Oregon. The following note, from Tom, may be helpful moving forward:

“You clearly have a well established population that has fully invaded some habitats and is starting on others. The pattern you have observed is typical of the invasion process we see here. Plants start at trail heads, along trails or roads, then spread along forest edges and into the forest stand. Next and more slowly, but still successfully, they spread into areas with more light, such as your marls. The plants appear to do well in dry sites as well as wetlands.
My recommendation would be to focus on containment of the invasion. Remove plants from trail sides and trail heads/parking areas, and any place people would sit or gather. The species is also spread easily and quickly by deer, which is harder to control. You may want to visit other recreation areas nearby to see if it has already invaded there. For a while, it seemed like I would find this species wherever people from my town traveled. It really gets everywhere, and recreationists are major vectors. Finally, conduct outreach to let people know of this problem. We started a False Brome Working Group to spread the word about this species to agencies, universities, land managers and invasive species coordinators. It worked very well as a group to share control ideas, present research results, and implement new methods. I think the spread of the species was tangibly slowed by this effort. Many thousands of acres in Oregon are covered by this grass, and it would be a shame to see the same happen in New York.”

If you live in Western or Central New York (where it has been seen recently in Tompkins County) please become familiar with this plant and report any sightings to Steve Young at syoung@tnc.org.

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One Comment on “Breaking News! Slender False Brome, Invasive Grass Found in New York”

  1. James O Says:

    Hello my name is James Odell and i am doing a project in my environmental science class. I am quadrating the species Brachypodium Sylvaticum in the town of Alden in Erie county New York, i recently found out that populations were found in Genesee and Tompkins counties. i also found patches of this grass all over town. please if u can get back to me by email or phone i would be happy to tell you everything i discover about this species. My number is 716 254 0047 or 716 989 7127 thank you.


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