Howard Buford Recreation Area aka Mt. Pisgah has begun to be infected with false brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) populations. Scientists tell us that this invasive is probably the greatest threat to the native plants and wildlife which is what people enjoy about Mt. Pisgah and it could be lost in the next decade or two. Sensitive wildlife populations that depend on these rare, remnant plant communities will likely decline further. This area receives more than 100,000 visits annually, with that many visitors this area can become a epicenter for distribution of false broom seeds from the treads in shoes, our pants or even your animals. Without even knowing it visitors can be spreading this invasive to other valuable natural areas. False broom is most often associated with an alkaloid-producing fungus which are extremely toxic if ingested. This could threaten the health of wildlife species by depleting their food source and poisoning those who eat is.
False broom is killed/removed by chemical, mechanical, thermal, and manual methods. FBP staff led hundreds of volunteers on 33 work parties to manually treat false brome across 89 acres of the park. After removal, restoration of the native species is done passively with a robust seed bank, and actively by seeding with Buford Park-sourced plant materials. 31 pounds of native grass seed was purchased to use as needed in areas where false brome treatments are complete.
Manual treatments are making progress by reducing the density and size of false brome patches in the treated areas. In the largest spot, after 3 to 4 cycles of manual treatment, the false brome population was reduced by about 80% going from 5 acres to 1. The number of large patches (>50′ in diameter) was reduced from 6 to 2. Where treatments are done, diverse community of native plants are recovering. Native perennial plants observed are primarily seedlings and juveniles and native annuals as well as native perennial lilies (and other species growing from bulbs and tubers) are maturing and successfully producing seed.