Cheatgrass competition and establishment of desert needlegrass seedlings.

Rafferty, D.L.
Young, J.A.
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
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 less than or equal to 0.05) differences in the height of desert needlegrass seedlings among treatments. From week 5 through week 12, there was a highly significant (P less than or equal to 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.DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v55i1_rafferty
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
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Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management) serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, ecology, and use of rangelands and their resources. The journal is peer-reviewed and provides international exchange of scholarly research and information among persons interested in rangelands. The Global Rangelands collection includes REM content up to 5 years from the current year. More recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management, and may be available at your local university library.
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