Submitted to: Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 27, 2006
Publication Date: October 13, 2006
Citation: Sanderson, M.A., Skinner, R.H., Van Der Grinten, M., Skaradek, B. 2006. Virginia Wildrye Evaluations in Riparian Zones. In: Sanderson, M.A., Adler, P., Goslee, S., Ritchie, J., Skinner, H., Soder, K., editors. Proceedings of the Fifth Eastern Native Grass Symposium, October 10-13, 2006, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. p. 271. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Virginia wildrye (Elymus virginicus L.), a perennial cool-season grass native to the northeastern USA, grows along streams, forest margins, and in other wet areas. Our previous research indicted that Virginia wildrye was not productive as a forage grass compared with introduced species such as orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L). Some accessions of Virginia wildrye, however, showed promise for conservation plantings. In this multilocation study, we compared four accessions of Virginia wildrye with a commercial ecotype (Pennsylvania Ecotype, Ernst Conservation Seeds) and a cultivar (Omaha, Stock Seed Co.) on wet soils at four locations. Accession 1 was collected in Montgomery county MD in 1998; Accession 2 in Chemung county NY in 1999; and Accession 3 in Cheshire county NH. Plants of Accession 4 were of unknown provenance but survived a severe drought on sandy soil at Beltsville MD in 2002. The four accessions, commercial ecotype, and cultivar were transplanted into single-row plots of 17 plants per plot. Each plot contained 15 experimental plants and a border plant of wildrye at each end. Border rows of the PA ecotype alternated with rows of the accessions. Plants were spaced 1-ft apart with 1 ft between rows. Rows were oriented parallel to the slope so that each accession was evaluated at the top, mid, and bottom slope positions. Evaluation sites were near Wye, MD; Klingerstown, PA; Mansfield, PA; and Big Flats, NY. Experimental plants were rated for survival, plant vigor, and plant height in September 2004 and in April or May of 2005 and 2006. Differential vigor and survival was noted among accessions and among landscape positions within each location. The commercial ecotype and cultivar Omaha survived well at all locations as did Accession 3. Accession 4, collected from a field experiment in Beltsville, MD, had very low survival at each location. Plant survival, vigor, and plant height were greatest at the top slope landscape position compared with the midslope and the bottom of the slope. Evaluations will be completed in 2007.