Growing Season Versus Dormant Season Fire as a Control Method for an invasive Species, King Ranch Bluestem (Bothriochloa Ischaemum )

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological and Environmental Sciences

Date of Award

Spring 2012


King Ranch Bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum L) is a non-native grass introduced into the United States from Eurasia in the early 1900s. The species is resistant to intensive grazing, has high water use efficiency and a propensity to spread quickly across rangelands in the southern states. As such, it has become an increasing threat to native and improved grasslands. Some previous studies suggest prescribed fire during the dormant season may encourage its growth while others showed the grass to have a pronounced negative growth response to late-summer growing season fire. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a significant difference in response to growing season versus dormant season fire in controlling the growth of King Ranch Bluestem. Fifty quadrats were assigned to each of three treatments: growing season burn, dormant season burn or no burn (Control). No significant differences in cover of KR bluestem were observed among burn treatments. However, a significant negative growth response was noted in growing season and dormant season burned quadrats as compared to unburned control plots. Despite potential effects of drought conditions, the negative growth response demonstrated by both active treatments indicates this method warrants further study.


Jeffrey Kopachena

Subject Categories

Biology | Life Sciences