Established native perennial grasses out-compete an invasive annual grass regardless of soil water and nutrient availability

Christopher M. McGlone, Carolyn Hull Sieg, Thomas E. Kolb, Ty Nietupsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Competition and resource availability influence invasions into native perennial grasslands by non-native annual grasses such as Bromus tectorum. In two greenhouse experiments we examined the influence of competition, water availability, and elevated nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability on growth and reproduction of the invasive annual grass B. tectorum and two native perennial grasses (Elymus elymoides, Pascopyrum smithii). Bromus tectorum aboveground biomass and seed production were significantly reduced when grown with one or more established native perennial grasses. Conversely, average seed weight and germination were significantly lower in the B. tectorum monoculture than in competition native perennial grasses. Intraspecific competition reduced per-plant production of both established native grasses, whereas interspecific competition from B. tectorum increased production. Established native perennial grasses were highly competitive against B. tectorum, regardless of water, N, or P availability. Bromus tectorum reproductive potential (viable seed production) was not significantly influenced by any experimental manipulation, except for competition with P. smithii. In all cases, B. tectorum per-plant production of viable seeds exceeded parental replacement. Our results show that established plants of Elymus elymoides and Pascopyrum smithii compete successfully against B. tectorum over a wide range of soil resource availability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-457
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Bromus tectorum
  • Competition
  • Greenhouse
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Water availability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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