Research in our lab focuses on integrating tools (e.g., prevention; chemical, mechanical, and biological control; prescribed fire; revegetation) to manage invasive plants on rangeland in Montana. We aim to find ecologically-based, economically viable means to control invasive plants while maintaining or restoring desirable vegetation that meets management objectives.


  1. Research: In Progress
  2. Research: Completed
  3. Further Information

Research: In Progress

A Comprehensive Look at Invasive Annual Grasses

Collaborators: Lisa Rew (MSU) and Kate Fuller (MSU)

We are examining how four invasive annual grasses (cheatgrass, Japense brome, Ventenata, and medusahead) are impacting our economy, forage quality, and rangeland biodiversity. We sampled at a total of 13 sites across Montana in 2017 and will be researching litter decomposition and litter effects on germination from 2017 to 2018.

People sampling annual grass cover on a hillside along a transect

Optimal Seeding Date and Preparation for Planting Perennial Grass into Weedy Areas

Collaborator: Zach Miller (MSU). Graduate student: Michelle Majeski

Planting date of desired grasses can influence competition with weeds and ultimate success of restoration/revegetation planting. This project will identify optimal timing of grass seeding when revegetating weed-infested range and pasture lands. The project will also evaluate if timing of weed management influences optimal seeding time/conditions.

field showing drill rows of bluebunch wheatgrass seedlings

Renovation of Exotic Cool-Season Grasses to Functional Native Grasslands

Collaborators: USDA ARS (Sidney), Northern ARC (Havre), MPG Ranch (Missoula). Graduate student: Peter Bugoni

The goal of this project is to develop technologies that successfully renovate monotypic stands of nonindigenous cool season grasses including crested wheatgrass (A. cristatum) and smooth brome (B. inermis) to diverse native plantings that support livestock, wildlife, pollinators, prevent erosion and are resistant to future weed encroachment. Ultimately these protocols can be applied by private landowners and public land managers in the restoration of native grasslands.

stand of crested wheatgrass plants in August

Mitigating Priority Effects of Invasive Plants during Revegetation by Altering Perennial Grass Planting Date

Bozeman, MT. Graduate student: Audrey Harvey

Modifying seeding date may be one ecologically-based management tool to increase establishment of seeded species by giving them an initial size advantage over weedy species that emerge later. This project is exploring how timing of planting of desirable perennial grasses (bluebunch wheatgrass) might overcome the priority effects of seedlings of the invasive plants spotted knapweed and cheatgrass. It is our hope that this research will improve efficacy of revegetation efforts on lands dominated by spotted knapweed and cheatgrass in Montana and other semi-arid regions. This project started fall 2015.

person standing in plot area with bluebunch wheatgrass growing in a fallow crop field

Monitoring a New Invader: Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusa e) in Sanders County

Sanders County

The presence of medusahead, an invasive annual grass, was confirmed in Montana for the first time in 2013. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, MSU researchers from the Mangold lab surveyed frequency of medusahead, along with other plant functional groups, at the confirmed site. This monitoring project will allow us to track the rate and spread of medusahead.

medusahead seed head in the palm of someone's hand

Research: Completed

flowering hoary alyssum stem with seed pods

Effect of Herbicide Management Practices Used by Invasive Plant Managers on Berteroa incana (Hoary Alyssum) Seed Biology and Control

Uriel Menalled, Former Undergradute Technician

Cambridge Core
Volume 11, Issue 2

brown calf standing in grassland with mountains in background

The Economic Cost of Noxious Weeds on Montana Grazing Lands

Collaborators: Kate Fuller (MSU) and Matt Rinella (USDA-ARS)

Cambridge Core
Volume 11, Issue 2

technician sampling percent cover on a hillside rangeland with mountains in the background

Plant Community Response to Herbicide Application for Noxious Weeds in Rangelands

Central and Western MT

2016 Research Report

crop field with rows of crop growing with yellow flowered weed growing in between

Management Strategies for Control of Narrowleaf Hawksbeard (Crepis tectorum)

Collaborators: Shelley Mills and Bobbie Roos (MSU Extension Agents)

Narrowleaf hawksbeard is not a state listed noxious weed, but it is becoming increasingly problematic in Montana cropland and CRP lands, especially in the northeastern part of the state. This study looked at herbicide and mowing management options at two sites in Daniels County and Valley County. Herbicides applied in the fall versus spring were less effective on narrowleaf hawskbeard but were less detrimental to desirable forbs. Optimal control of narrowleaf hawksbeard with herbicides used in the study may be achieved by application in the spring. Mowing alone is not recommended as a viable management option but may enchance control in combination with spring herbicides.

people sampling a revegetation site with mountains in background

Long-Term Population Dynamics of Seeded Plants in Invaded Grasslands

Ecological Society of America

Ecological Applications
Volume 22, Issue 4

people applying treatments to field plots in crop field

Joint Effects of Biotic and Abiotic Stressors on Winter Wheat Suppression of Bromus Tectorum

Noelle Orloff, Former MS Graduate Student

Wiley Online Library, Weed Research
Volume 53, Issue 3

person sitting in plot with seeded grass growing and cheatgrass growing around the plot

Site-Specific Effects of Exotic Annual Grass Control Integrated with Revegetation

Noelle Orloff, Former MS Graduate Student

Ecological Restoration
Volume 33, Number 2

pots in greenhouse with cheatgrass and a native perennial grass growing

Role of Size and Nitrogen in Competition Between Annual and Perennial Grasses

Noelle Orloff, Former MS Graduate Student

Invasive Plant Science
Volume 6, Number 1

bee species foraging on a spotted knapweed flower

Temporal and Density-Dependent Impacts of an Invasive Plant on Pollinators and Pollination Services to a Native Plant

Christina Herron-Sweet, Former MS Graduate Student

Volume 7, Issue 2

several spotted knapweed flowers and buds with trees in the background

Native Parasitoids Associated with the Biological Control Agents of Centaurea Stoebe in Montana

Christina Herron-Sweet, Former MS Graduate Student

Biological Control
Volume 86

research plots mowed and not mowed with tall buttercup growing

Testing Integrated Management Strategies for Tall Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) in Irrigated Hayfield Meadows

Hally Strevey, Former MS Graduate Student

Invasive Plant Science and Management
Volume 8, Number 4

bromus tectorum seeds with fungal pathogen growing on top of blue blotter paper

Integrating the Herbicide Imazapic and the Fungal Pathogen Pyrenophora Semeniperda to Control Bromus Tectorum

Krista Ehlert, Former MS Graduate Student

Weed Research
Volume 54, Issue 4

marked cheatgrass field

Imazapic Activity in a Semiarid Climate in Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum) Infested Rangeland and CRP Sites

Krista Ehlert, Former MS Graduate Student

Weed Technology
Volume 29, Number 3

person sitting in field of western salsify that is dispersing seeds

Testing Control Options for Western Salsify (Tragopogon dubius) on Conservation Reserve Program Lands


Weed Technology
Volume 27, Number 3

Further Information

Contact Jane Mangold for more information about the research projects at MSU Extension Invasive Plants and Mangold Laboratory.

For general plant inqueries and sample analysis, contact Schutter Diagnostic Lab.

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