New Brush Control Philosophy Works for Ranchers

This article first appeared in the 2015 Proceedings of the 6th National Conference on Grazing Lands held in Dallas last December. “As land managers, if we focus on dealing with problems we will continue dealing with problems. If we focus on our desired objectives and visualize what it takes to achieve that objective, then we can get it done." This is a paraphrasing of John “Chip” Merrill on achieving ranch objectives. Several Ranchers in the Gulf Coast Prairie Region have come to realize that we have been focusing on the brush problem rather than focusing on their common objective which is to grow more high quality native vegetation, both forbs and grasses. The invasive brush problem has become a losing battle as huisache has replaced mesquite as the dominant brush species. Once huisache becomes established on the landscape it soon dominated the landscape unless immediate steps were taken to keep this brush species under control. The ranchers in this group communicate with others in the group concerning their efforts for brush control containment. They share information on methods that work better than others, chemicals, treatment timing and treatment costs. They also communicate options that eliminate the treatments that are least effective. From a treatment standpoint, once a canopy density of 15 percent is passed, it becomes a very difficult struggle to keep huisache in check. When the canopy reaches 30 percent, the reduction of sunlight reaching the groun

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3 thoughts on “New Brush Control Philosophy Works for Ranchers

  1. The most important part of this received very little attention. It will be the grazing method that will keep the brush in check.
    The ranchers need to study other projects before implementing a grazing plan.
    Most likely it will require severe grazing at certain times, than full recovery of the beneficial grasses before hitting it hard again. Small paddocks with a lot of ground disturbance should be considered.

  2. I wonder if root plowing or dozing (if the huisache is to big) would be a better alternative? Treating it chemically you will still have the dead plants taking up valuable space.

    1. and a lot of good, hard wood for the next range fire unless removed. I know goats will eat some. Best bet is always to hit it when in bloom, goats or spraying. The plant is already stressed making blooms, and then it has to try to come back and rebloom before summer hits it. Works with mesquite, I’m told, if livestock are trained to eat it.

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