Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2012
Publication Date: February 3, 2013
Citation: Russell, M., Vermeire, L.T., Hendrickson, J.R., Ganguli, A. 2013. Phenological bud bank development of Bouteloua gracilis, Hesperostipa comata, and Pascopyrum smithii during drought in the Northern Great Plains. Society for Range Management Meeting Oklahoma City, OK. February 3-7, 2013. Abstract #0248. Technical Abstract: Vegetative reproduction in rangelands relies on tiller recruitment from belowground bud banks. Improved understanding of species-specific bud production and phenology would facilitate timing of aboveground management strategies. Twelve individual plants of the warm season grass (Bouteloua gracilis), and cool season grasses Hesperostipa comata, and Pascopyrum smithii were marked on 15th of March and followed throughout the 2012 growing season. Tiller counts, mean growth stages of tillers, and axillary bud production of marked plants were recorded bi-weekly. Mean growth-stage counts (MSC) included morphological descriptors and a continuous numerical index to quantify development. Phenological development of H. comata and P. smithii differed during the first sampling, but demonstrated a similar MSC by the second sampling. However, P. smithii began to mature earlier than H. comata and was approximately 2 wk ahead until 30th July when both species began to plateau in development. Both cool season grasses produced the most active buds by mid-March, with H. comata producing 3.3 ± 0.4 and P. smithii producing 7.2 ± 0.4. In contrast, B. gracilis initiated maturation at the end of May and experienced rapid phenological development during the first week in July producing the most active buds (6.7 ± 0.4) by 5th July and decreased active bud production by 16th July (4.8 ± 0.4). Abrupt decreases in B. gracilis active buds may be attributed to drought. Better understanding of bud phenology may improve predictability of grassland responses to timing of various stimuli, such as fire, grazing or drought and their effects on tiller and biomass production.