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Mr. Smarty Plants - Non-invasive alternatives to winter rye

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Friday - August 20, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Managing Roadsides
Title: Non-invasive alternatives to winter rye
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

Re-vegetation requirements include winter rye, which is considered by some to be invasive to native wildflowers planted along the roadway. Is winter rye considered invasive to native wildflowers?

ANSWER:

Perrenial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne; introduced cool-season perennial bunchgrass) & related Annual Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), are effective competitors for native vegetation as they temporarily produce a dense turf coverage, & are also effective at re-seeding after flowering in the early Spring, providing propagules that emerge the following late Fall providing problems with persistance. It is because of its "success" providing a quick cover that it is utilized in re-vegetation mixes along roadsides and areas requiring control for erosion. There are 3 species that would be a better choice for consideration in seedling mixtures, 2 native to the Continental U.S., all cool-season grasses, cassock or open type bunching grasses and not providing problems associated with persistance. Canada Wild Ryegrass ( Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye) perennial native), Virginia Ryegrass (Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) perennial native), and Cereal Ryegrass (Secale cereale; annual non-native). I recommend contacting your state Department of Transportation office to find out more about their roadside management programs.
 

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