Do you have cheatgrass (downy brome) on your lands? Cheatgrass is identified by it's hairy/soft appearance when the plant is green and it's one-sided drooping infloresence. Cheatgrass is shallow-rooted and easy to pull, unlike many of Gunnison's perennial native grasses. Cheatgrass is also characterized by it's early spring emergence as a green grass, and then as it matures it turns a purple-reddish color, and dries out into a blond/tawny color.
If you do have cheatgrass on your lands, why should you treat it? Cheatgrass has low nutritional quality, making it a poor substitute for our native grasses as forage for livestock and wildlife. Cheatgrass has a variety of mechanisms that make it easy for cheatgrass to outcompete our native plants. Cheatgrass also creates a lot of fine fuels on the landscape, which can promote more frequent and severe fires, and cheatgrass readily reestablishes after a fire whereas some of our native plants will not recover as rapidly. This plant can, in time, create an annual invasive grass monoculture, rather than our currently diverse and productive sagebrush steppe.
What can you do? The GCD offers FREE herbicide (Panoramic 2SL, which is the chemical imazapic) to qualifying landowners, paid for from a grant through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Habitat Partnership Program. For more information about imazapic and Panoramic 2SL, please refer to the herbicide label, available HERE.
To qualify for the program, landowners must have at least 2.5 acres, and have some form of agricultural production. If you have interest in finding out more about this program, please fill out the form below and we will get back to you with more information about eligibility and herbicide pickup.
PLEASE NOTE that in 2023 we have limited funds for hiring a private contractor to treat cheatgrass on state and private lands. Treatments would be 100% free for private landowners. If we cannot complete the number of requests we receive with our funding, we will work with you to facilitate another opportunity currently being administered through Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.