Rangeland Ecology & Management

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Brush Management

Cultural Methods

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Rock structures can be used to increase water infiltration and capture plant seeds to boost germination and establishment potential.

Photo by: Austin Rutherford
  • Written by Rachel Frost, Montana State University; Revised by Anne Gondor and Austin Rutherford, University of Arizona


    Cultural methods involve manipulating the timing, intensity, or duration of a land use or management action to achieve a desired vegetation composition and/or structure. Cultural control is most often employed to manage invasive weeds or deter undesirable species in traditional agriculture fields but also on rangeland landscapes. Targeted grazing, prescribed fire, and seeding desirable vegetation are the most common rangeland cultural methods (also see Related Resources below).

    Cultural practices are often incorporated into an integrated approach in consideration with biological, cultural, and mechanical methods to maximize brush management goals. Selecting the appropriate cultural technique to meet your goal(s) can depend heavily on cost of implementation, but managers should also consider regional-, local-, and site-level soil, elevation, and weather (or climate) conditions to maximize efficacy in both short- and long-term time frames. 

    A simplified example of a cultural method application includes seeding a desirable, competitive herbaceous species that can capture soil and water resources that aids in preventing resource capture by competing undesirable brush species following a mechanical practice. Considerations on the site suitability, species selection, and timing with precipitation (or the rainy season) for germination and establishment will be critical for seeding potential success.


  • Russell Wilhelm, Seed Program Manager for the of the Nevada Department of Agriculture, discusses strategies for rangeland restoration that will help promote rangeland health and longevity, and assist to suppress wildfire intensity and decrease frequency. This recording also discusses the use of locally adapted, genetically appropriate, seed.

  • Old water control structures create drastic impacts on grasslands. Mary Nichols researches these structures and their roles in the formation of gullies in rangelands which convert them into predominately hosting brush.


  • This tool is designed to assist land managers with the rangeland restoration and/or rehabilitation planning process. The tool assembles information ab…
  • University of Arizona Cooperative Extension's easy to use platform to investigate potential species based on site characteristics and management…

Featured Resources From the Database

Further Reading