Brome Grass

Brome grass is an annual grass weed widely distributed across the wheat belt in the world. In crops and pastures, this highly competitive weed can markedly reduce productivity with seeds contaminating grain samples and causing injury to livestock.

Brome grass is an annual grass weed widely distributed across the wheat belt in the world. In crops and pastures, this highly competitive weed can markedly reduce productivity with seeds contaminating grain samples and causing injury to livestock.

Brome grass can be a serious weed and is found across low and high rainfall cropping regions. Brome grass is becoming an increasing problem. This is due to higher intensity of cropping in rotations, reduced tillage and the absence of effective herbicides for its control in cereals.


Bromus tectorum is an annual or winter annual, native to the Mediterranean region. Brome grass ranges in height from 2 to 36 inches. Each plant contains multiple stems that are erect in nature. The inflorescences are born and the end of the stems, and are multi-branched. They appear in a slender, dense, and usually drooping manner. At maturity, they appear greenish purple in color. The spikelets are slender, 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch long and are nodding. The awns on the end of the spikelets are usually 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch long. The sheaths of the leaves are flat blades and densely covered in with soft hairs. Cheat grass reproduces solely by seed. The root system is fibrous and fleshy.

Ecological requirements

Brome thrives in all soils. This weed has an extensive shallow root system and roots with many hairs which enable the plant to extract much of the soil water. Temperature range of 5-15 °C and requires mean annual rainfall of 100-650mm and can tolerate alkaline soils. Prefers heavy, light and medium textured soils with special tolerances of infertile, saline and shallow soils.

Adaptation of Brome grass to various environmental conditions

  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc.

Distribution of Brome grass

  1. tectorum is widely distributed in central Asia, with the western edge of its native range generally given as the Balkans, Europe. The present distribution of B. tectorum in Europe extends to south-western Spain, but west of the Balkans, B. tectorum is considered to be an adventive species. B. tectorum is common in the Middle East and occurs across North Africa in areas with a Mediterranean-type climate but may be considered adventive west of Egypt. To the east, the native range extends into China, probably restricted to Xinjiang province. Presence in India is probably restricted to the north. This species has been so closely associated with winter cereal grain production and range livestock grazing for such an extended period of time, it is difficult to separate native habitat from where it has been introduced in pre-history

Disadvantages of Brome grass

  • This weed can serve as a suitable host for pests, e.g. nematodes and cereal diseases such barley net blotch and bunt.
  • It reduces crop yields as it is estimated that as few as 100 B. tectorum plants/m² reduced winter wheat production by 27-36%
  • Mature brome can cause injury to livestock (lump jaw in cattle) by causing infection in the eyes or mouth
  • Mature plants are also a serious fire hazard.
  • The seed of brome grass is a contaminant to wool and can cause damage to the hides and meat of animals, as well as causing injury to the eyes and mouth. If the seeds are ingested they may puncture the intestine, leading to death of animals.
  • Damaged ecosystem services

Means of Movement and Dispersal

  • Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
  1. tectorum seeds are too heavy for wind to be a major factor in dispersal.
  • Vector Transmission (Biotic)

The seeds stick in animal fur and also human clothing. On rangelands, rodents collect and scatter hoarded seeds of B. tectorum

  • Agricultural practices

Planting contaminated seed and feeding contaminated hay or grain to livestock are common means of dispersal of B. tectorum.

  • Accidental Introduction

The use of B. tectorum-infested cereal straw in erosion control during construction projects is a common means of dispersal for this species.

Uses of brome grass

  • It is used for hay, pasture, and silage or stockpiling.
  • It used as straw in erosion control since the plant has a massive root system and is a sod former
  • It is compatible with alfalfa or other adapted legumes. The grass is highly palatable and is high in protein content and relatively low in crude-fiber content.
  • Used for roadside site rehabilitation

Hosts plants affected

  • Winter wheat and Barley
  • Alfafa
  • Lucerne
  • Grapevine

Greenlife solutions to Brome grass

Cultural Control

Brome grass is very easy to pull out due to its relatively shallow root system, as long as it is done before the grass lets its seeds go.

Mowing can also be used in the blooming stages of Brome grass. However, the short plants get missed by the mower, allowing them to produce seeds.

Chemical Control

In Greenlife we offer the following Non-selective herbicides eradicate all vegetation it comes in contact with. Clampdown480SL 200ml/20Lis the most effective non-selective herbicide and is applied when Brome grass is still a small plant. The clampdown will be translocated to the root, killing the entire plant. It is typically applied at a rate of one-half to one liter per acre and takes about 10 to 14 days to fully kill the plant. Hurricane 200SL 100ml/20L can also be used in plain fields to eradicate the same since its fast acting

Selective herbicides eradicate a specific type of plant. Digester supper 69EW 50ml/20Lis a registered herbicide for use on wheat. It needs to be applied when Brome grass is still small.

Last updated on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 at 10:59 pm

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