In an effort to restore grasslands and wetlands in southern California, some states are turning to chemicals and a new pesticide to combat the spread of grasskill, a disease that’s spreading rapidly across the state.
But in a region where many homes have been destroyed by fire and torn down, it’s hard to find a grasskill-free option.
“I’m not even sure if there is a way to remove grasskill,” said Mike Gaudette, a state land program director for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Gaudette said California’s drought has pushed grasskill into the spotlight.
It’s a problem that’s spread across the West, he said, but the problem is especially pronounced in the West where more than 40 percent of the nation’s grassland habitat is lost.
There are many ways to treat grasskill: chemicals, insecticides, even genetically modified crops.
A California-based company, Sunlight Technologies, has been testing a novel pesticide for decades that it’s trying to market to developers.
Its new spray, Sunbeam, has shown promising results for killing grasskill in the Southwest and is currently available in California, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.
The spray is not available in every county, however, so homeowners and developers in those areas are still deciding whether to use it.
Sunbeam is designed to kill grasskill at the roots of trees, but its spray can also be applied to plants, and it can be applied directly to grassland if it’s sprayed on a sandy surface.
The spray can be used as a pesticide, but Gaudettes team has been looking at the possibility of applying it directly to a tree, too.
This isn’t a spray that can kill a grassland entirely, Gaudes said.
It’s an insecticide, so it’s also effective at killing insects.
In the Southwest, where the grasslands are most vulnerable, spraying a spray on a tree could have a significant impact on the grasses’ ability to spread, Gudette said.
Because of this, Goudette and other experts say there’s no real reason to spray the spray directly on the ground, instead looking for ways to spray it on a patch of ground nearby, where it could be more effective.
To do this, a team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and the California Academy of Sciences are testing Sunbeam on a sample of ground in California’s Mojave Desert.
After a day of spraying, the scientists found that the spray is able to kill the grass at the root and the branches, which are most common in the state’s grasslands.
When sprayed on grassland in California without the root, the spray kills the grass.
On the other hand, the study found that it is not effective against grass on grasslands with root systems.
As a result, the team is looking to add a third option: insecticides.
Researchers have been using this spray to kill off grasses on grasses with a root system in the past.
But insecticides have limited efficacy against the root of trees because they are susceptible to fire, said Andrew Breslau, a bioethicist and an assistant professor of biology at the University at Albany, who was not involved in the study.
Breslai is also an environmental scientist at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
He said it’s likely the next big thing to try will be a synthetic pesticide, which he said has been around for about a decade.
That type of pesticide has been tested on a variety of grasslands in the U.S., and the research is still underway, he noted.
Some scientists are concerned that insecticides will spread grasskill to other places in the country, so scientists need to study how the chemical works before they can determine if it is effective.
“We don’t know if this is a new way to use insecticides to combat grasskill or if it will work elsewhere,” said Brian Coughlin, a professor of plant pathology and ecology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is not involved with the study but has been studying how to fight grasskill for about 15 years.
Coughlin said it is too early to know if the pesticide spray would work for other types of grasses as well, such as those in the United Kingdom and Canada.
The research is being funded by the U of C, and is being published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.