Rangeland Ecology & Management

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Treated Mesquite

Brush Management

Integrated Brush Management Systems

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More often than not, multiple brush management treatment methods (e.g., mechanical and chemical) and retreatment will be needed to meet long-term brush cover goals.

Photo by: Austin Rutherford
  • Written by Austin Rutherford, University of Arizona


    No one treatment or “silver bullet” exists for managing brush on rangelands, particularly for resprouting shrub and tree species. Each brush management treatment’s effectiveness can vary widely due to weather, soil, topography, and site plant community. Additionally, land managers must weigh treatment implementation costs, environmental/cultural impact concerns, and longevity of treatment efficacy to meet their brush cover goals. 

    An integrated and iterative application of multiple brush management treatments that are strategically chosen and timed based on the target shrub/tree species can potentially maximize meeting your management goals. Using an integrated approach through a Integrated Brush Management System (IBMS) allows for taking stock of current land conditions and potential resource gains, assessment of treatment options including doing nothing at all, evaluation of post-treatment efficacy, and adaptation of follow-up treatments to meet brush cover goals. The initial treatment and the follow-up treatment(s) could be very different. As an example, a mechanical treatment could be used to meet a short-term shrub cover goal but may not be cost-effective for maintenance of the shrub cover in the long-term. Following an IBMS approach (see diagram below), an alternative treatment of individual plant herbicide application could be selected and evaluated for all follow-up treatments based on cost or available funding, potential efficacy, and number of shrubs needing to treat. 

    IBMS Diagram (adapted from Hanselka et al., 2001)

    IBMS framwork adapted from Hanselka et al., 2001


  • Dr. Bob Lyons, Texas A&M Professor and Extension Range Specialist, covers many different species of brush that are troublesome to landowners across Texas and explains the best ways to manage these plants on rangelands.

  • Dr. Bob Lyons, Texas A&M Professor and Extension Specialist, discusses the various methods for managing mesquite including aerial and ground broadcast spraying, individual plant stem and leaf treatment techniques, mechanical options, and prescribed burning.


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