Bromus tectorum L.
Cheatgrass, also called downy brome, is an annual or winter annual invasive grass, originally from the Mediterranean region. Growing anywhere from 4-to-30 inches high, it has dense hairs on its leaf sheathes. Cheatgrass also has an early lifecycle, beginning to grow immediately after snow melt. In Teton County, it begins to cure out by June, and by mid-June or July it has completely dried out. This aggressive, quick-growing life cycle not only gives it a competitive advantage over other plants, but also makes it a fire hazard for much of the year.
The first recorded appearance of Cheatgrass in Teton County was in 1927 in the hills east of the National Elk Refuge (Rocky Mountain Herbarium, 2013). Today this grass infests a little less than 10,000 acres, mostly south or south-west-facing slopes. While this infestation is not nearly as severe as those of other counties, it still negatively affects our wildlife, which relies on native grasses and shrubs to get through the winter. The Jackson Hole Weed Management Association received a two-year grant in 2011 through Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust to map, track, and treat Cheatgrass in Teton County.
For advice on controlling this invader or for a free consultation of your Teton County residence, please contact Teton County Weed & Pest District at 733-8419.