Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Coexistence of Native and Introduced Grasses Following Simultaneous Seeding

Authors
item Waldron, Blair
item Monaco, Thomas
item Jensen, Kevin
item Harrison, R - UTAH STATE UNIV
item Palazzo, Antonio - ERDC-U.S. ARMY CRRL
item Kulbeth, James - DECAM-U.S. ARMY

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 12, 2005
Publication Date: May 1, 2005
Citation: Waldron, B.L., Monaco, T.A., Jensen, K.B., Harrison, R.D., Palazzo, A.J., Kulbeth, J.B. 2005. Coexistence of Native and Introduced Grasses Following Simultaneous Seeding. Agronomy Journal 97:990-996

Interpretive Summary: Rapid revegetation of rangelands after disturbance reduces soil erosion, prevents weed invasion, and returns normal ecological processes. Introduced species have been widely used because natives often are slow to establish resulting in poor ecosystem recovery and further degradation. We conducted research to document the land management possibilitis of simultaneously establishing native and introduced grasses at Fort Carson, Colorado. We evaluated changes in plant cover after seeding the native perennial grasses western wheatgrass, slender wheatgrass, thickspike wheatgras, Indian ricegrass, sideoats grama, blue grama, and sand lovegrass simultaneously in five mixes with two varieties of Russian wildrye, two varieties of crested wheatgrass, or Siberian wheatgrass. Rapid establishment of the crested and Siberian wheatgrasses resulted in lower native grass establishment and weed abundance during the 3-year experiment. In contrast, the Russian wildrye and a military seed mix had low introduced grass cover, but high weed abundance. However, weed cover decreased to less than 5 percent in all treatments during the experiment. Western, slender, and thickspike wheatgrasses were the predominate native species for all 3 years. We discuss these results and provide insights into managerial considerations for revegetation and weed control.

Technical Abstract: Revegetation of drastically disturbed semiarid lands requires rapid stabilization of ecological process and soil resources. Introduced species have been widely adopted because the slow establishment of native species frequently results in poor ecosystem recovery and further degradation. Little research has documented the managerial possibilities and species interactions associated with simultaneously establishing native and introduced grasses on semiarid lands. We conducted a 3-year experiment at Fort Carson in central Colorado to evaluate changes in plant cover after seeding the native perennial grasses western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), slender wheatgrass (Elyus trachycaulus), thickspike wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus), Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), blue grama (B. gracilis), and sand lovegrass (Eragrostis trichodes) simultaneously in 5 mixes with 2 varieties of Russian wildrye (Psathyrostachys juncea), 2 varieties of crested wheatgrass (Agropyron sp.), or Siberian wheatgrass (A. fragile). The 5 native-introduced grass mixes were compared to a military seed mix. Rapid establishment of the crested and Siberian wheatgrasses treatments maintained significantly lower native grass establishment and weed abundance during the 3-year experiment. In contrast, the Russian wildrye and military treatments had low introduced grass cover and high weed abundance. However, weed cover decreased to less than 5 percent in all treatments during the experiment. Wester, slender, and thickspike wheatgrasses were responsible for over 80 percent of the native species cover in the military and Russian wildrye treatments for all 3 years. We discuss these results and provide insights into managerial considerations for revegetation and weed control.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page