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Cheatgrass Competition and Establishment of Desert Needlegrass Seedlings

Dawn L. Rafferty and James A. Young
Journal of Range Management
Vol. 55, No. 1 (Jan., 2002), pp. 70-72
DOI: 10.2307/4003265
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4003265
Page Count: 3
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Cheatgrass Competition and Establishment of Desert Needlegrass Seedlings
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Abstract

Desert needlegrass (Achnatherum speciosum [Trin. & Rupr.] Barkworth) is potentially a valuable native species for use in restoration seedings in the more arid portions of the Great Basin. Seedlings of desert needlegrass were grown in a greenhouse with 5 different densities of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.). The densities of cheatgrass used in the greenhouse experiments were derived from sampling populations in the field where desert needlegrass is adapted and seedling recruitment is desired. Cheatgrass is known to close sites to the establishment of seedlings of perennial grasses through competition for moisture. The response variable was height of desert needlegrass shoots. Height measurements were taken weekly for 12 weeks following seedling emergence. During the first 5 weeks following emergence there were no significant (P ≤ 0.05) differences in the height of desert needlegrass seedlings among treatments. From week 5 through week 12, there was a highly significant (P ≤ 0.001) difference in the height of desert needlegrass shoots between the control and all levels of cheatgrass density. Reducing the density of cheatgrass seedlings in the greenhouse to the equivalent of 25% of the density present in the field still did not allow the establishment of the perennial grass seedlings. Even though desert needlegrass is adapted for natural establishment in the drier portions of the central Great Basin, some form of cheatgrass control is required for the perennial grass seedling establishment if cheatgrass is present. Cheatgrass control has to be more than a reduction in density, it has to be near complete control of the annual grass. /// El "Desert needlegrass" (Achnatherum speciosum [Trin. & Rupr.] Barkworth) es una especie nativa potencialmente valiosa para uso con fines de siembras para restaurar las porciones mas áridas de la Gran Cuenca. En un invernadero se cultivaron plántulas de "Desert needlegrass" con 5 diferentes densidades de "Cheatgrass" (Bromus tectorum L.). Las densidades de "Cheatgrass"utilizadas en los experimentos de invernadero se derivaron de muestreos de poblaciones en el campo donde el "Desert needlegrass" es adaptado y se desea el establecimiento de plántulas. El "Cheatgrass"es conocido por cerrar los sitios para el establecimiento de plántulas de zacates perennes mediante la competencia por humedad. La variable respuesta fue la altura de los tallos del "Desert needlegrass". La altura se midió semanalmente por 12 semanas después de la emergencia de las plántulas. Durante las primeras 5 semanas después de la emergencia la diferencia de altura de las plántulas de "Desert needlegrass" no fue significativa (P ≤ 0.05) entre tratamientos. De la semana 5 a la 12 la diferencia de altura de los tallos de "Desert needlegrass" entre el tratamiento control y todos los niveles de densidad de "Cheatgrass" fue altamente significativa (P ≤ 0.001). Ni aun reduciendo en el invernadero la densidad de plántulas de "Cheatgrass" a un equivalente del 25% de la densidad presente en el campo permitió el establecimiento de plántulas de zacates perennes. Aunque el "Desert needlegrass" esta adaptado para el establecimiento natural en la porciones más secas de la Gran Cuenca central, si el "Cheatgrass"esta presente se requiere algún grado de control de esta especie para que ocurra el establecimiento de plántulas de zacates perennes. El control del "Cheatgrass" tiene que ser mas que una reducción en la densidad. Tiene que ser casi un control completo del zacate anual.

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