I was reading Janice's post about cheat grass overtaking the native
grasses in Idaho due to overgrazing. We had the same problem in
Colorado. Does anyone know where cheat grass came from? Is it
indigenous to North America? We also refer to it as "wild oats." I
don't know its scientific name.
Thanks for any info.
I worked on Rangelands in Oregon and Nevada for a season for BLM. I think I
remember hearing that in came over in livestock and was 'passed' into our
ecosystems that way. I believe it was locally attributed to Basque herders
in the Malheur County, OR area...Not sure if this is an exurban legend.
Mike LaMana, MS
Heartwood Consulting Services, LLC
Gaby & Mike-
Thanks for your responses & info. Having the cheat grass up on my
hillside is sort of a two-edged sword. The good part is that it helps
cut down on soil erosion. The disadvantages are that it's a fire
hazard when it dries out and it's a real pain to pick the seeds out of
your shoes & socks after walking through it.
How right you are, Amy! I remember as a kid we had a couple of cocker
spaniels, and they had a miserable time with the cheat grass getting
down in their ears. Cockleburrs were rough on them too, although they
didn't get all the way down into the ear canal like the cheat grass
seeds did. One of the dogs got really nasty about it because we had
to take him to the vet so often.
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