Downy brome is a serious competitor in crops such as winter and spring wheat, barley and canola, leading to losses in quality and overall yield, if not correctly identified and dealt with. If emergence of this grassy weed occurs pre-emergence of desired crop, yield losses can be great. The species Bromus tectorum is an annual or winter annual grassy weed, common to Canada’s Prairie regions.
The first leaf of downy brome is rolled, and as a seedling, it can be easily mistaken for fall rye. The key distinguishing feature between the two plants is the lack of auricles (little hooks surrounding base of leaf blade) in downy brome.
The stems of downy brome are smooth, slender and branch from the base. The leaves are wide, flat and covered in small soft hairs and have no auricles. Flowering occurs from April through to May resulting in a purplish flower head.
Optimal growth conditions
Downy brome is commonly found growing in regions with relatively low rainfall with soils that are fertile and sandy to loamy.