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K-State Research: Timing of Grassland Burning Helps Control Invasive Plants

Grassland burning is a common sight during spring in many parts of Kansas. Research at Kansas State University says shifting the controlled burns from spring to late summer can help control an invasive plant. KC Olson is a K-State professor studying the topic. He says prescribed burning done in the late summer helps control Chinese bush clover. Moving some of the burns also reduces the concentration of smoke in the air at any one time.

"What we're talking about is not eliminating that essential tool we call prescribed fire, but just spreading out its application enough to where the smoke is just not so intense," says Olson.

Burning in the late summer nearly eliminates viable seeds from the plant. Bush clover crowds out native prairie species and can cause stomach problems in grazing cattle.

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