SFB, a highly invasive grass, first detected in TW in 2004. Once potential was realized for what a pest it could become, the District quickly mobilized to establish a response plan. Treatment initiated on public land. However, SFB was established over numerous private parcels. In collaboration with private property owners, the District developed a management program for SFB on private lands. A unique feature of this program is that it includes a reimbursement plan. Property owners who participate in the program are reimbursed for their treatment costs.
Prolific seed producer Spreads along roads, trails, and stream courses Carried by deer, dogs, horses, hikers, cars.
SFB thrives in a variety of conditions ranging from full sun to shade. In Woodside, SFB is doing particularly well in the redwood forest. There is concern that it has the potential to alter this unique forest habitat.
Why are we concerned about SFB in CA? Forms dense stands of up to 90% cover. Outcompetes and excludes native plants, with the potential to alter the understory of forests. In CA SFB is designated a Class A noxious weed; distribution is limited and eradication is a high priority. In Oregon, SFB has spread to over 10,000 acres. When told of the presence of SFB in CA, the advice from the Nature Conservancy’s Oregon Field Office was to “get it now, before its too late.”
Key identifying characteristics
This map shows the general location of the SFB infestation in Woodside in 2009. The epicenter of the infestation appears to be the area between Rte 84 and Old La Honda Rd. In 2011 we have seen some expansion and the infestation appears to be approximately 300 acres.
In 2005, the District Bd. of Directors approved a 10 year plan to eradicate SFB from District lands & the adjacent surrounding private properties. Four tasks were identified in this work plan: Reclassify SFB as a noxious weed Treat & monitor SFB on District preserves. Treat & monitor SFB on adjacent lands. Pursue financial assistance through grant funding. District estimated a budget of $1.2 million over 10 years.
SFB is present on 4 District preserves: Thornewood, where it was first identified La Honda Creek: 2 infestations El Corte de Madera: along hiking trails Saratoga Gap: very small infestation, vehicle Treatment is on-going and the density of the overall infestation has been reduced approximately 70%; however, it is necessary to be continuosly vigilant for new populations.
By working cooperatively with private property owners, the District hopes to eradicate SFB in CA before it becomes unmanageable. The management program for private properties follows a multi-step process that is applied to each parcel. Communication with the property owner is on-going throughout the process. The steps of the program follow this sequence: 1. District invited to do pre-treatment survey. Acreage of SFB determines reimbursement amount. 2. Property owner applies treatment themselves or hires a contractor. Property owner has the choice of how treat: manually or with an herbicide 3. District conducts post-treatment survey 4. If treatment has been successful, property owner issued a check. 5. Program has been designed to provide on-going treatment over several years as long as we have funding.
The reimbursement rate was determined based on conversations with a professional pest control operator and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. A flat rate of $350 per acre treated was set. The reimbursement plan was designed provide funding for two treatments on each parcel. Reimbursing property owners for the cost of treatment definitely seems to have been an incentive for property owners to treat this invasive grass on their land
Majority of parcels are large and densely infested. Have had excellent results using glyphosate, which is the only herbicide we recommend. Treatment typically begins in May and can go through October. Property owners can purchase Roundup if they want to treat themselves, however, the majority of property owners do hire a contractor to do the work.
Parcel initially treated in 2009, retreated in 2010. Not sure how long seed persists in the soil, generally for grasses 3-5 years.
Some properties owners have been successful with hand removal. It is a lot of work and to be successful the property owner must be dedicated. Best for small, patchy populations, sensitive areas, and the current CEQA document states SFB within 15’ of water must be hand pulled. Have had some unsuccessful hand-pulling treatments. Since the program is funded by public monies, I am hesitant to recommend hand removal unless the property owner is truly committed to it.
Ellen Gartside Slender False Brome Integrated Pest Management Program Ellen Gartside, Slender False Brome Coordinator