Landscaping tip: How to control cheatgrass
By Ryan Harvey of Reno Green Landscaping
Cheatgrass is native to Europe, southwestern Asian and northern Africa and it has become increasingly prolific in many other regions, including here in Reno. It is a prolific seed producer, developing large seed banks. It only takes a few plants in a sagebrush/perennial grass community to produce enough seeds to overwhelm the native plants in the production of seeds. Once cheatgrass turns purple/brown it becomes highly flammable.
If you pull the plants up by hand, put them in a plastic bag in the trash, being careful not to disperse any seeds.
To control larger areas of cheatgrass when it is still green, use a method of spraying and string trimming. Spray the cheatgrass with a weed killer product and, once dead, string trim it down and rake up the spoils.
Once it is purple/brown you can string trim and rake. Use caution when string trimming cheatgrass when it is in this stage as it is very flammable. Be mindful of rocks that could be flicked and create a spark and be careful when changing string trimmer string that you do not put the engine of the string trimmer down in the grass as the heat from the engine could ignite the grass. Keep a source of water or a fire extinguisher near the work area in case you do accidentally cause a fire.
Once you have the area cleared you can start to gain control of it by spraying emerging weeds with a weed-killer product and applying a pre-emergent product at least once a year.