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SPECIES:  Bromus japonicus
Japanese brome in eastern Montana. Wikimedia Commons image by Matt Lavin from Bozeman, Montana, USA - Bromus japonicus, CC BY-SA 2.0,


SPECIES: Bromus japonicus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION: Howard, Janet L. 1994. Bromus japonicus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. Revisions: On 17 October 2018, Taxonomy section of the Species Review was revised. Images were also added.
ABBREVIATION: BROJAP SYNONYMS: None NRCS PLANT CODE [65]: BRJA COMMON NAMES: Japanese brome Japanese chess TAXONOMY: The scientific name of Japanese brome is Bromus japonicus Thunb. (Poaceae) [33,34,39,52,68,84,85,87]. Japanese brome, field brome (B. arvensis), and corn brome (B. squarrosus) form a morphologically similar group of diploid annual grasses with overlapping morphology [83, 86] and inconsistent taxonomy [86]. Some systematists treat Japanese brome and field brome as synonyms [65]. However, breeding system of Japanese brome is highly autogamous [86]. Based on breeding system [86] and genetic studies [83, 86], this review treats Japanese brome as a distinct species. Japanese brome hybridizes rarely with rattlesnake brome (B. brizaeformis) and soft brome (B. hordeaceus) [68]. LIFE FORM: Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS: No special status OTHER STATUS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Bromus japonicus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Japanese brome is native to Eurasia.  In North America it is distributed from British Columbia east to Ontario and south to New Hampshire, Florida, and Mexico [12,68]. ECOSYSTEMS:    FRES10  White - red - jack pine    FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine    FRES14  Oak - pine    FRES15  Oak - hickory    FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood    FRES18  Maple - beech - birch    FRES19  Aspen - birch    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES21  Ponderosa pine    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES29  Sagebrush    FRES30  Desert shrub    FRES31  Shinnery    FRES32  Texas savanna    FRES33  Southwestern shrubsteppe    FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub    FRES35  Pinyon - juniper    FRES36  Mountain grasslands    FRES38  Plains grasslands    FRES39  Prairie    FRES40  Desert grasslands    FRES42  Annual grasslands STATES:      AL  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  FL  GA  ID      IL  IA  IN  KS  KY  LA  MD  MA  MI  MN      MO  MT  NE  NV  NH  NJ  NM  NY  NC  ND      OH  OK  OR  PA  RI  SC  SD  TN  TX  UT      VT  VA  WA  WV  WI  WY  DC  AB  BC  MB      ON  SK  MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS:     1  Northern Pacific Border     2  Cascade Mountains     3  Southern Pacific Border     4  Sierra Mountains     5  Columbia Plateau     6  Upper Basin and Range     7  Lower Basin and Range     8  Northern Rocky Mountains     9  Middle Rocky Mountains    10  Wyoming Basin    11  Southern Rocky Mountains    12  Colorado Plateau    13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont    14  Great Plains    15  Black Hills Uplift    16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS: NO-ENTRY SAF COVER TYPES:     66  Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper     67  Mohrs (shin) oak     68  Mesquite    210  Interior Douglas-fir    220  Rocky Mountain juniper    229  Pacific Douglas-fir    233  Oregon white oak    234  Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone    235  Cottonwood - willow    236  Bur oak    237  Interior ponderosa pine    238  Western juniper    239  Pinyon - juniper    240  Arizona cypress    241  Western live oak    242  Mesquite    243  Sierra Nevada mixed conifer    244  Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir    245  Pacific ponderosa pine    246  California black oak    249  Canyon live oak    250  Blue oak - gray pine    255  California coast live oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES:    101  Bluebunch wheatgrass    102  Idaho fescue    104  Antelope bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass    105  Antelope bitterbrush-Idaho fescue    107  Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass    109  Ponderosa pine shrubland    110  Ponderosa pine-grassland    201  Blue oak woodland    202  Coast live oak woodland    203  Riparian woodland    204  North coastal shrub    205  Coastal sage shrub    207  Scrub oak mixed chaparral    208  Ceanothus mixed chaparral    209  Montane shrubland    214  Coastal prairie    215  Valley grassland    301  Bluebunch wheatgrass-blue grama    302  Bluebunch wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass    304  Idaho fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass    309  Idaho fescue-western wheatgrass    310  Needle-and-thread-blue grama    311  Rough fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass    314  Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass    315  Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue    316  Big sagebrush-rough fescue    319  Bitterbrush-rough fescue    320  Black sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass    321  Black sagebrush-Idaho fescue    323  Shrubby cinquefoil-rough fescue    401  Basin big sagebrush    402  Mountain big sagebrush    403  Wyoming big sagebrush    405  Black sagebrush    406  Low sagebrush    408  Other sagebrush types    412  Juniper-pinyon woodland    503  Arizona chaparral    504  Juniper-pinyon pine woodland    509  Transition between oak-juniper woodland and mahogany-oak association    601  Bluestem prairie    602  Bluestem-prairie sandreed    603  Prairie sandreed-needlegrass    604  Bluestem-grama prairie    605  Sandsage prairie    606  Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass    607  Wheatgrass-needlegrass    608  Wheatgrass-grama-needlegrass    609  Wheatgrass-grama    610  Wheatgrass    612  Sagebrush-grass    613  Fescue grassland    614  Crested wheatgrass    708  Bluestem-dropseed    709  Bluestem-grama    710  Bluestem prairie    711  Bluestem-sacahuista prairie    715  Grama-buffalograss    717  Little bluestem-Indiangrass-Texas wintergrass    720  Sand bluestem-little bluestem (dunes)    721  Sand bluestem-little bluestem (plains)    722  Sand sagebrush-mixed prairie    724  Sideoats grama-New Mexico feathergrass-winterfat    727  Mesquite-buffalograss    730  Sand shinnery oak    733  Juniper-oak    735  Sideoats grama-sumac-juniper HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES: In the West, Japanese brome occurs in prairie, pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.), sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe, and desert shrub-grassland communities.  It is most common on disturbed sites, but is also found in undisturbed communities [19,38,44].  It occasionally occurs in openings in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) or other low-elevation forest types [53].  It is uncommon in the East, where it is reported only from disturbed areas [33,59].  Plant associates are listed below by location and community type. Eastern Wyoming shortgrass prairie:  Wyoming big sagebrush (A. tridentata ssp. wyomingensis), fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Gardner's saltbush (A. gardneri), rubber rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), threadleaf sedge (Carex filifolia), sand bluestem (Andropogon gerardii var. paucipilis), prairie Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), needle-and-thread grass (Stipa comata), western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), and plains prickly pear (Opuntia polyacantha) [23]. Southwestern South Dakota mixed-grass prairie:  western wheatgrass, red threeawn (Aristida purpurea), cheatgrass, buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides), plains silver sagebrush (Artemisia cana ssp. cana), Russian-thistle (Salsola kali), and scarlet mallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) [10]. Central Oklahoma tallgrass prairie:  big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and Carolina geranium (Geranium carolinianum) [2]. North-central Texas mesquite savanna:  honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa), buffalo grass, sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), and Texas wintergrass (Stipa leucotricha) [37]. Mesa Verde, Colorado, pinyon-juniper woodland:  annual sunflower (Helianthus annuus), pigweed (Chenopodium pratericola), wheat (Triticum aestivum), and mountain brome (Bromus carinatus).  True pinyon (Pinus edulis) and Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) were adjacent to but not within this fire-disturbed community [19]. Northeastern California sagebrush steppe:  medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), cheatgrass, Columbia needlegrass (Stipa columbiana), bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), and bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides).  Basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata) and low sagebrush (A. arbuscula ssp. longicaulis) were adjacent to but not within this grazing-disturbed community [7]. Japanese brome was ranked as important in high-disturbance willow (Salix spp.)-zone stream channels of south-central Oklahoma [51].


SPECIES: Bromus japonicus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE: Livestock use Japanese brome heavily in fall and early spring [61,66]. It is an important and highly palatable fall diet item of white-tailed deer [77], and bison also graze it heavily in fall.  Plants rapidly loose palatability as they mature [61].  Like all annuals, Japanese brome is unpredictable forage:  Yields are high in wet years but low in dry years [61,66]. Wild turkeys eat Japanese brome seeds [46]. PALATABILITY: Japanese brome palatability for livestock and wildlife has been rated as follows [17]:                      CO     MT     ND     UT     WY cattle              good   fair   fair   good   fair sheep               fair   fair   fair   fair   fair horses              good   fair   fair   good   fair pronghorn           ----   ----   poor   fair   ---- elk                 ----   ----   ----   fair   ---- mule deer           ----   ----   poor   ----   ---- white-tailed deer   ----   ----   poor   ----   ---- small mammals       ----   ----   ----   fair   ---- upland game birds   ----   ----   poor   fair   ---- waterfowl           ----   ----   poor   poor   ----    NUTRITIONAL VALUE: Japanese brome rapidly decreases in nutritive content and digestibility as it matures [61].  Analysis of fresh, immature Japanese brome yielded the following data [48]: crude fiber         28.7% protein (N x 6.25)  16.1% digestible protein    cattle           11.6%    goats            11.6%    horses           11.2%    sheep            12.0% calcium              0.40% phosphorus           0.26% COVER VALUE: Japanese brome provides fair cover for small nongame birds and mammals and poor cover for upland game birds and waterfowl [17]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES: Japanese brome is not used for reclamation, but its seeds are often present in salvaged topsoils.  Its presence on reclamation sites can slow succession toward desirable perennials [4,58]. OTHER USES AND VALUES: No information is available on this topic. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Japanese brome is usually regarded as a noxious weed on rangelands and prairies because it competes with native perennials for water and nutrients [4,29,61,66].  It is reported in general literature as increasing with moderate to heavy grazing [56,61,66].  It may decrease under such grazing regimes, however.  Whisenant and Uresk [74] observed that Japanese brome density in Badlands National Park, South Dakota, which is only lightly grazed, appeared much greater than in more heavily utilized adjacent rangeland.  They hypothesized that litter accumulation with little or no grazing created a favorably mesic environment for Japanese brome germination and establishment. Mechanical treatments may increase, sometimes greatly, Japanese brome populations.  With favorable soil moisture Japanese brome establishes wherever native vegetation is disturbed and soil nitrogen levels are temporarily increased [30].  Mowing a Kansas tallgrass prairie in August resulted in one such Japanese brome population increase [32]. Control:  The best way to prevent or minimize Japanese brome invasion is to minimize soil disturbance.  Where Japanese brome has already established, it can be reduced with herbicides.  Atrazine is most commonly used [13,40].  A list of other pre- and postemergent herbicides effective against Japanese brome is available [79]. Discing or moldboard plowing followed by a second disking or herbicide treatment after the germination period reduced Japanese brome on the Texas Southern Great Plains [14].


SPECIES: Bromus japonicus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Japanese brome is an introduced, cool-season, annual grass from 8 to 48 inches (20-120 cm) tall.  It sheaths are hairy; the blades are glabrous to hairy. The inflorescence is an open panicle bearing 6 to 13 caryopses [34,36,38,43,68].  Roots may be shallow [61], or surprisingly deep for an annual.  Roots of plants in Lewistown, Montana, reached depths of 5 feet (150 cm), with most roots concentrated between 2.7 and 4.7 feet (80 and 140 cm) below ground.  Japanese brome root density surpassed that of five other annual bromes also occurring at the site [40]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM: Therophyte
Japanese brome fruiting in the Wenatchee foothills of Washington. Wikimedia Commons image by Thayne Tuason.
Japanese brome reproduces entirely from seeds.  Plants are self-fertile
or autogamous; outcrossing is rare [86]. The seeds require a moist substrate 
for germination.  A heavy thatch or litter layer improves germination 
rates by retaining moisture [5].  Seeds germinate over a broad 
temperature range:  from just above freezing to over 95 degrees 
Fahrenheit (35 deg C) [5,25].  Under laboratory conditions a
majority (67%) of fresh seed was immediately germinable, but under
natural conditions most seeds are retained on the parent plant until
late fall or winter, which delays germination [5].  Some seeds are
dispersed off-site in animal hides or dung:  The majority of seeds found
in bison chips on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma, were
Japanese brome [11].  Other seeds fall near the parent plant [4,5].
Seeds are probably not deeply buried.  In Wind Cave National Park, South
Dakota, Whisenant [71] found few Japanese brome seeds deeper than 1.2
inches (3 cm) below ground.  Late fall- and winter-dispersed seeds
undergo dormancy and need a period of afterripening the following summer
before germination occurs.  Most seeds therefore germinate in fall and
are from the previous year's crop [5].  Fall precipitation increases
successful germination, and above-average precipitation is critical when
the litter layer is sparse to absent [70].  Whisenant [71] reported that
Japanese brome density in Wind Cave National Park was much greater in
summers that followed heavy fall rains.  Winter and spring precipitation
did not greatly affect Japanese brome density.  A minority of seeds
germinate in spring; plants growing from these seeds tend to flower
later in the year, if at all [5,22,40].  Japanese brome is a prodigious
seed producer [4].  The long-term viability of Japanese brome seeds is
unknown, but seeds remain viable for at least several years.  Soil from
north-central Kentucky, collected after the germination period had passed,
still contained an average concentration of 2,325 viable Japanese brome
seeds per square meter [5].

Seedlings overwinter in a rosettelike growth form [5].

Japanese brome invades disturbed and undisturbed sites.  It dominates
disturbed areas in the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park, Wyoming, where it
occurs on bridle paths, roadsides, gravel pits, and heavily used or
burned picnic sites [55].  In other areas it is reported from
site-prepared plantations [53], old prairie dog mounds [50], moderately
to heavily grazed rangelands [56], and undisturbed mixed-grass prairie

Japanese brome grows on soils of various textures including sand [8],
silt [9], clay [7], and claypan [35].  It usually occurs on mesic sites
[28,49,75].  Fine-textured soils with good litter cover promote best
growth [70].  It is apparently intolerant of alkaline soils [64].

Japanese brome colonizes disturbed sites [4,19].  It sometimes decreases
with succession:  Four years following elimination of disturbance
(logging and ranching) on the University of Kansas Natural History
Reserve, Japanese brome had 7.4 percent cover.  Twelve years later it
was present only in trace amounts.  Twenty-seven years later it was
absent from the community [24].  Japanese brome may persist or even
dominate some late seres or climax communities, however [40,42].
Huschle and Hironaka [42] listed a Japanese brome phase of the bluebunch
wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass (Agropyron spicatum-Poa secunda
[Pseudoroegneria spicata-Poa secunda]) habitat type by the middle and
lower Snake River, Idaho.

Japanese brome usually germinates in fall.  It shows some fall
vegetative growth, winter dormancy, vigorous spring vegetative growth,
and late spring flowering.  It fruits and dies in summer, and seeds
disperse from the dead plants in fall and winter [4,5,22,71].
Overwintering Japanese brome seedlings are among the first grasses to
resume growth in spring [29].  A minority of seeds germinate in spring,
and flowering occurs in late summer in these plants.  Spring-germinating
plants in northern latitudes are usually killed by frost before seeds
are ripe [71,75].

Baskin and Baskin [5] reported that in north-central Kentucky,
germination occurs from early September to mid-October; flowering begins
in early May; seeds ripen and plants die from late June to early July;
and seeds disperse from late October until March.

Frequency (%) of occurrence of phenological stages in central Oklahoma
was reported as follows [2]:

          germinating    vegetative   
           seedling        growth      anthesis    fruiting    dissemination

winter       45.8           ----          5.0        9.2           9.2
spring       ----           51.7         13.3       ----          ----
summer       ----           15.6          4.4       43.3          42.2
autumn        1.5           ----         ----       32.3          32.3


SPECIES: Bromus japonicus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS: Except in wet years, fire tends to reduce Japanese brome populations [31].  The reduction usually lasts for only 1 or 2 years, however [31,65].  Some seed is killed by fire, but seedbank reserves, reproductive capacity, and competitive ability of Japanese brome are usually sufficient to allow for repopulation of an area within 2 years unless the site is reburned [69,72,78]. Studies conducted when precipitation was below normal reported reductions in Japanese brome populations for 2 postfire years [28,30]. Since litter accumulations are more critical for germination and seedling establishment when precipitation is low, drastic population reductions can be expected when burning is followed by below-average precipitation [71]. Fire during wet years may not reduce Japanese brome populations. Studies conducted during years of high precipitation showed no change in Japanese brome density the summer after burning [73]. Kirsch and Kruse [44] hypothesized that the successful establishment and spread of Japanese brome across the Northern Great Plains is a direct result of fire suppression:  The resulting thicker surface mulch created a more mesic microenvironment for seeds and seedlings [44,72].  Japanese brome populations will probably continue to increase in the absence of fire [71].  In the Flint Hills of Kansas, for example, bluestem (Andropogon gerardii and Schizachyrium scoparium) prairie grazed and burned annually has remained in excellent condition, while prairie grazed but not burned has been invaded by Japanese brome and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratense) [3]. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY:    Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)    Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Bromus japonicus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT: Fire kills Japanese brome.  Some of the seeds retained in panicles are also killed [28,29,69,73,78]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE: Whisenant [71] suggested that Japanese brome postfire response is best explained as a function of level of litter reduction by fire and the amount of fall precipitation following fire.  Since litter accumulations are more critical for seed germination and seedling establishment in dry than wet years, populations are reduced when burning is followed by below-average precipitation.  During wet years, fire has little impact on subsequent generations. A 1973 to 1975 South Dakota study showed that spring, summer, or fall burning reduced Japanese brome for two postfire growing seasons.  During the study, prescribed burning was followed by 2 years of drought [28]. In another South Dakota study where prescribed fire was followed by 2 years of above average precipitation, Japanese brome densities at postfire years 1 and 2 were similar to prefire densities [72]. Whisenant and others [73] reported that Japanese brome frequency was not significantly changed in postfire year 1 by fires in September 1979, January 1980, or March 1980.  In eastern Montana, spring burning reduced Japanese brome for one postfire growing season.  Subsequent years were not evaluated [76]. Prescribed fire was used on a western wheatgrass-green needlegrass (Pascopyrum smithii-Stipa viridula) prairie in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, to test Japanese brome response to fire.  Treatments were fall (Sept. 18, 1973), winter (Feb. 13, 1974), and spring (April 10, 1974) burning.  Japanese brome density (stems/sq ft) on May 24, 1974, was as follows [27]:                                 Treatment | fall burn  control | winter burn  control | spring burn  control | unburned | |    0.8      80.0   |     33.8       57.3  |     15.7       56.1  |    56.9  | Only one study was found describing Japanese brome postfire response in palouse prairie.  A July 1961 wildfire in a bluebunch wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass stand in southeastern Washington reduced Japanese brome and cheatgrass populations for at least 2 years. Japanese brome percentage frequency was as follows [16]:                       unburned        burned postfire yr  2           42             10 postfire yr  4           30             50 postfire yr 12           32             18      Two accounts of Japanese brome postfire response in the Southwest were found.  In Mesa Verde, Colorado, Japanese brome was a component of an initial (postfire yrs 1 & 2) annual sunflower-pigweed community following a July 15 to August 7, 1959, wildfire in a true pinyon-Utah juniper (Pinus edulis-Juniperus osteosperma) woodland [19].  The spring following prescribed winter fire in a honey mesquite/Texas wintergrass woodland in Coleman County, Texas, cool-season annuals including Japanese brome were reduced by 74 percent.  At postfire year 2 there was a trend toward more annual grasses on burned than unburned sites [62,6]. On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, Japanese brome cover and frequency in postfire year 4 were higher on thinned-and-burned sites than on thinned, prescribed burned, or unburned control sites.  Japanese brome was determined to be an indicator species for thinned-and-burned sites (P0.05).  For further information on the effects of thinning and burning treatments on Japanese brome and 48 other species, see the Research Project Summary of Youngblood and others' [82] study. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE: For further information on Japanese brome response to fire, see Fire Case Studies. The following Research Project Summaries provide information on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant species including Japanese brome. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Whisenant [72] stated that fire exclusion in northern mixed-grass prairie has improved conditions for Japanese brome establishment at the expense of native grasses.  In the absence of intensive grazing, litter accumulations in northern mixed-grass prairie stabilize after 5 to 6 postfire years [1,18].  Whisenent [74] has recommended burning every 5 years or less to reduce litter accumulations.  This reduces Japanese brome populations, particularly when fall precipitation is low. However, he cautions managers to balance the benefits of litter against need to reduce Japanese brome when preparing fire management plans. Benefits of litter include soil stabilization and insulation, moisture retention, and promotion of perennials [80]. Gartner and others [28] recommended burning Japanese brome in the ripe seed stage in order to maximize kill of seeds in panicles. Whisenant [70] has developed regression equations modelling Japanese brome density and seed production as affected by fire.


SPECIES: Bromus japonicus
FIRE CASE STUDY CITATION: Howard, Janet L., compiler. 1994. Prescribed Fire control of Japanese brome in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.  In: Bromus japonicus.  In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: /database/feis/ []. REFERENCES: Whisenant, Steven G. 1985. Effects of fire and/or atrazine on Japanese brome and western wheatgrass. Proc. Western Soc. Weed Science. 38: 169-176. [69]. Whisenant, Steven G. 1990. Postfire population dynamics of Bromus japonicus. American Midland Naturalist. 123: 301-308. [71]. Whisenant, S. G.; Bulsiewicz, W. R. 1986. Effects of prescribed burning on Japanese brome population dynamics. Proceedings of the 15th International Grassland Congress: 803-804. [72]. Whisenant, Steven G.; Uresk, Daniel W. 1990. Spring burning Japanese brome in a western wheatgrass community. Journal of Range Management. 43(3): 205-208. [74]. SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION: Spring/Severity not measured STUDY LOCATION: The study area was in Badlands National Park in south-central South Dakota. PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY: The study was conducted in a stand of native shortgrass prairie in good condition.  Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus) and western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii) codominated the site.  Green needlegrass (Stipa viridula), sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus), threadleaf sedge (Carex filifolia), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), and buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) were minor components of the community.  Japanese brome tiller density averaged 1,500 per square meter; western wheatgrass tiller density averaged 273 per square meter. TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE: Japanese brome seedlings were 1 to 2 inches (3-5 cm) tall when the April fires were set, and 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm) tall when the May fires were set. SITE DESCRIPTION: The mean growing season in the Park is 126 days.  Annual precipitation is approximately 384 millimeters, 303 of which falls during the growing season.  Average temperature is 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8.3 deg C), with temperatures rising to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 deg C) in summer and dropping to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 deg C) in winter.  Summer and fall relative humidity has a wide diurnal variation, ranging from 85 percent in morning to 40 percent by afternoon.  Precipitation from October 1983 to July 1984 (the first year of the study) was above average, with of most of it occurring in fall.  Precipitation from October 1984 to July 1985 (the second year of the study) was 61 percent of normal.  Soil at the study site is Larvie silty clay (fine, montmorillonitic, mesic, vertic Camborthid). The study site was relatively undisturbed.  It had never been cultivated and had not been burned or grazed by domestic livestock for at least 25 years.  White-tailed deer, pronghorn, bison, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep reside in the Park, but grazing effects were not apparent at the study site. FIRE DESCRIPTION: Fire treatments were:  (1) unburned, (2) burned in April 1983, (3) burned in May 1984, (4) burned in April 1983 and April 1984, (5) burned in May 1983 and May 1984, (6) clipped in April 1983, (7) clipped in May 1983, (8) atrazine application in September 1983, (9) burned in April 1983 with atrazine application in September 1983, and (10) burned in April 1984. Environmental and fuel variables during the fires were as follows:                   Ambient        Wind     Relative     Fuel      Fine Date Burned     Temperature     Speed     Humidity   Moisture    Fuels                   (deg C)       (km/hr)   _________%________   (g/sq m) 20 April 1983       22            6-9        40         18        211 19 May 1983         14           19-23       78         38        298 16 April 1984       14            5-23       43         28        276 9 May 1984          16           13-16       56         35        272  FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES: Japanese brome tiller density and standing crop were significantly reduced the first year after the 1984 fires.  Tiller density and standing crop were not significantly reduced the second postfire year. Burning resulted in greater reductions than did clipping, indicating that mortality resulted from heat rather than simply foliage removal. Atrazine applied as a preemergent herbicide significantly reduced Japanese brome density. In July 1984, Japanese brome density and standing crop were as follows: Treatment             Treatment Number         Density        Standing Crop                                             (tillers/sq m)      (g/sq m) ___________________________________________________________________________ Control vs.                  1                 2,617             14.8 1983 fire                    2                 2,028 NS          19.9 NS    Control vs.                  1                 2,617             14.8 1984 fire                    3,10                 23**            0.7* Control vs.                  1                 2,617             14.8 1983 & 1984 fires            4,5                 580**            4.7* 1984 fire vs.                3,10                 23              0.7 1983 & 1984 fires            4,5                 580**            4.7 NS Control vs.                  1                 2,617             14.8 atrazine application         8                    19**            0.0* 1983 clipping vs.            6,7               3,250             24.7 1983 fire                    2                 2,028*            19.9 NS 1983 fire vs.                2                 2,028             19.9 1984 fire                    3,10                 23**            0.7** 1983 fire followed by       atrazine application vs.    9                 19                1.5 atrazine application          8                 77 NS             0.0 NS atrazine application vs.      8                 19                0.0 1984 fire                     3,10              23 NS             0.7 NS ___________________________________________________________________________ NS means contrast is not significant; * means P<0.05; ** means P<0.01 Japanese brome densities in the spring were positively correlated with litter weight and autumn precipitation.  As precipitation decreased, litter became more important.  Burning reduced seed production for at least three growing seasons.  Seed production in 1984 and 1985 was greatest in controls and lowest in recently burned plots.  In 1986, seed production was reduced in plots burned in 1984 but not in untreated plots or those burned in 1983.  Litter seedbanks were reduced when precipitation was below normal.  The litter seedbank was reduced drastically after the combination of drought and fire in 1985.  Reduction in the litter seedbanks on burned sites lasted for 3 years.  The soil seedbank was also reduced for 3 years, but the reduction was less drastic. Japanese brome seedling density and seedbank reserves, measured in July, were as follows: _______________________________________________________________________________ Seed production (per sq m)    Control    Burned April 1983    Burned April 1984    1983                       73,160 a        1,620 b             67,815 a    1984                       94,212 a       46,644 b                368 c    1985                        1,410 a          785 b                375 c    1986                       31,584 a       29,911 a             12,208 b    1987                       30,416 a       27,897 a             38,157 a Litter seedbank (per sq m)    1984                       12,460 a       11,775 a                700 b    1985                          187 a          112 b                 18 c    1986                        6,712 a          263 b                 89 b    1987                        7,914 a          869 b                475 b Surface soil seedbank (per sq m)    1984                       11,852 a       10,760 a             11,512 a    1985                        7,859 a        6,923 ab             5,754 b    1986                        4,587 a        3,712 a              2,251 b    1987                        6,810 a        2,861 b              2,551 b Seedling density (per sq m), measured in April    1983                        2,738 a        2,299 a              2,516 a    1984                        2,287 a        2,417 a              2,381 a    1985                          578 a          554 a                 72 b    1986                          990 a          523 b                 65 c    1987                        2,114 a        1,847 a              1,710 a ______________________________________________________________________________ Means within a row followed by the same letter are not significantly different from each other at P=0.05 FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS: Fire that reduces litter accumulations reduces the next generation of Japanese brome.  Carryover of Japanese brome in the seedbank is usually sufficient to establish subsequent generations.  As water becomes more limiting, litter becomes increasingly important in determining the size of Japanese brome populations.


SPECIES: Bromus japonicus
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