Stem

  • 0.5-2 ft. tall; slender; round in cross-section
Photo of a field of medusahead plants
 

Leaves

  • 4-12 in. long, less than 0.12 in. wide; sometimes covered with short hairs; collar region usually has long hairs, auricles and a membranous ligule
Photo of medusahead plants
 

Flower

  • Seedhead is a spike, 0.5-2 in. long; awns are stiff, straight or twisted, barbed and up to 3 in. long; spikes often remain intact on dry plants through winter
Photo of  medusahead plants
 

Root

  • Fibrous
Photo of medusahead plants

Other

  • Grows best on clay soils; primarily infests rangeland; known to occur in Churchill, Elko, Humboldt, Lyon, Pershing, and Washoe counties
  • Annual; reproduces by seed; matures 2-4 weeks later than other annual grasses 
  • Unpalatable to grazing animals due to high levels of silica in the foliage and long, stiff awns
 
 

Control

  • Tillage, mowing or grazing prior to seed set can reduce stands; burning has had mixed results; most effective with a hot, slow fire prior to seed maturity but after other species have dried-down; burning can also be used to reduce the thatch layer, which can increase the performance of soil-applied herbicides
  • Apply imazapic, indaziflam, or sulfometuron preemergence or to small, actively growing plants; glyphosate to actively growing plants
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Medusahead, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide

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Also of Interest:

 
Needs Assessment for Noxious Weeds in Churchill County: Part 2 of 5 - Problems of and Obstacles to Weed Management
This publication discusses the results from a needs assessment conducted by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and looks at the problems and obstacles associated with weed management.
Powell, P., Davison, J., Schultz, B., Creech, E., and Singletary, L. 2011, University of Nevada Extension, FS-2011-73
Needs Assessment for Noxious Weeds in Churchill County: Part 3 of 5 - Spread, Detection and Prevention of Weeds
This publication discusses the results from a needs assessment conducted by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension to discuss the spread, detection and prevention of weeds.
Davison, J., Powell, P., Schultz, B., Creech, E., and Singletary, L. 2011, University of Nevada Extension, FS-2011-74
 

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