From the Ground Up - Drought Creates Opportunity for Brush to Thrive

If you’ll go back and look at the recorded rainfall for our area in the last 3 or 4 years you’ll find below normal rainfall in all of them that was capped off with the record breaking drought of 2011.

This provides an opportunity for unwanted plant pests to take hold, not just on agricultural land but in our landscapes.

“If you add that up from 2008 to 2011, we’re about 40 inches short of moisture.”

Barron Rector is a range specialist with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

“A lot of times when we come out of a drought, the first thing that comes up when the ground is open and bare because the amount of grass growth is not greater than what is decomposed, so decomposition is faster than grass growth, we end up with a lot of bare ground. A lot of plants in this area are adapted to coming up on bare ground.”

When you add overgrazing to the drought you actually compound the problem.

“We open that soil up to sunlight moisture evaporation, and we can actually give the rain fall we’ve received away to the atmosphere, by the sunlight heating up the soil and evaporating the soil moisture.”

This creates opportunities for weeds as well as brush to establish themselves.

“Almost all chemicals, sprayed at a rate from moderate to high rate will burn the leaves off of a plant. That’s not the thing we’re trying to do in brush control, so I reemphasize that we’re trying to kill the root system that’s underground. All the woody plants in the Brazos Valley, if I go in with a chain saw, and chop them down, I use an ax, I use a hoe, or I come in with a prescribed burn and burn the top of the plant, every vine and every woody plant in the Brazos valley area, they all come back from the crown or the root system.”

Red Cedar is the exception to that rule. I’m Kailey Carey, looking at Brazos valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.