Why does cheatgrass do so well following fire?

In the first few growing seasons fire results in: 1) reduced competition, 2) increased available nitrogen, and 3) warmer soil surface temperatures in the fall and early spring. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) has higher nitrogen absorption rates than many native plants, where soils are warm and moist in the fall and spring (Roundy et al. 2020; Cline and others 2018; Ryel et al. 2011).

Nine year old wildfire in Nevada where cheatgrass has taken a foothold (photo by Rick Miller Oregon State University).