Sahara Mustard Consortium

... a UC resource for managing Sahara Mustard, Brassica tournefortii

Research projects on various aspects of the ecology and management of Sahara mustard are ongoing.

For a brief writeup of research results see the Fall 2013 issue (#6) of my Wildflowers! newsletter Wildflowers Issue 6 Fall 2013.pdf

I have conducted experiments examining the effectiveness of 4 different herbicides at reducing Sahara mustard. I have also examined the efficiency and cost of reducing Sahara mustard with various mechanical and chemical control methods and examined the seed bank dynamics of Sahara mustard. Contact me for further details.

Herbicide Treatments

In the winter of 2010/2011 UCCE with my UCCE colleague Carl Bell conducted herbicide efficacy trials on Sahara mustard at two locations: Borrego Springs and Coachella. The goal of our research is to determine the effectiveness of several different herbicides at reducing the abundance of Sahara mustard while maintaining diversity of native wildflowers.

We found that different herbicides can provide different levels of control of Sahara mustard and also can effect non-target species, mostly native wildflowers. Results of this research can be found in the table at right. Some herbicides kill all broadleaved plants (including Sahara mustard and native wildflowers) others can be used to reduce Sahara mustard and not reduce native wildflowers below levels in untreated plots. If you are interested in trying to reduce Sahara mustard while preserving native wildflowers this route might be the best for you.

Sahara Mustard Removal Analysis

In the winter of 2013 we investigated if our successful treatments will work on a large scale and compered those suffessful methods to other mechanical removal methods commonly used to control Sahara mustard.

This research project is funded by the Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy, and is a joint effort to improve the quality and beauty of the Southern California Deserts

Volunteers with Seed Bank Study

In addition volunteers from across Southern California have gathered soil samples from locations infested with Sahara mustard. They are assisting with a seed bank study to determine the number of Sahara mustard seeds that are present in the soil throughout a year. This information will help land managers determine how much labor they will need to invest in removing Sahara mustard for the first two years of eradication. These wonderful volunteers will be saving the state thousands of dollars in travel costs.

Sahara Mustard Eradication

At two sites, in San Bernardino County and Riverside County I will eradicate Sahara mustard from isolated populations. I will determine how many years it will take to completely eradicate these populations and document the labor investment and population size each year as it hopefully declines to zero.

Borrego Springs Strategic Plan

The community of Borrego Sprins is becoming overrun with Sahara mustard and their landscape and economy is in jeopardy. Many tourists visit Borrego Springs to hike and enjoy the immense wildflower fields that surround the town. Those fields are quickly disappearing due to Sahara mustard outcompeting the native. The town has decided to pool its limited resources and coordinate removal efforts. The first step in this effort is to develop a strategic plan. The plan will allow all stakeholders to agree on common goals and work cooperatively ot remove Sahara mustard.


Herbicide-Treated Plot

Untreated Plot

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