Restore Land Overrun by Brush
Nothing can reduce range and pasture productivity quicker than weeds. But woody species harm grazing land in many of the same ways. Trees and shrubs compete with native and improved grasses, threaten land values and slice cattle carrying capacity. Some woody species, including sericea lespedeza and tropical soda apple, act much like invasive weeds, growing dense and thick to crowd out desirable grasses. Thorny species, such as locust, blackberry and multiflora rose, can injure livestock and prevent uniform grazing. Other woody plants, like big sagebrush, require so much water that they can impact stream flows and disrupt ecosystem diversity. And in the case of saltcedar — another notorious water user — it actually changes soil pH levels to prevent growth of desirable vegetation.
Trees, shrubs and other woody plants tend to sneak up on land managers. They start small, spread in from fence lines and pasture perimeters, and scatter across grazing areas. Slowly but surely, these plants grow and mature. Eventually, they canopy and block sunlight. Grasses and other desirable plants cease growth. Production drops, wildlife move on and property values tumble. Obviously, it's most economical to stop encroaching brush early. But you can reclaim land lost to weeds and brush. And you can do so more economically than buying or renting more grazing land. Plus, it's the right thing to do for the land resource. Your Dow AgroSciences Range & Pasture Specialist can help you design an integrated land reclamation program suited to your individual operation and long-term goals.