Competition Comparison
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Home>Weed Research>IFAFS Project>Competition Comparison

Finding Plants that Compete
IFAFS researcher taking notes

What does it take to survive as a plant in the Great Basin?

  • It takes endurance during frequent environmental extremes.
  • It requires a strategy for reproduction or regrowth following disturbance.
  • A plant must make do with limited resources.
  • All the while, a competitive spirit is necessary to fight weeds looking to invade your home.
This last requirement is quickly becoming more than many native plants can provide.

Image depicting one grass type being better than another

All is not lost! Some native plants are better at competing with invasive weeds than others. Just as certain people have talents for drawing, playing sports, or memorizing, there are some plant varieties better equipped to survive in weed dominated areas. IFAFS scientists are working to find these plants and use them in further restoration research.

IFAFS seeding crew at work

In what is called a ‘competitive screening trial’, different varieties of bluebunch wheatgrass, Indian ricegrass, yarrow, and others are planted in competition with cheatgrass. The varieties that perform best are then taken and used in research looking to shift the competitive advantage toward these desirable plant species.

-Plot inspection: Loren St. John.
-Range planting: Cindy Salo.
-Sidebar photo: Dave Pyke.