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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Grassland Restoration with Native Perennial Grasses in Yolo County, California

Authors
item Griffith, Stephen
item Steiner, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 31, 2003
Publication Date: January 31, 2004
Citation: Griffith, S.M., Steiner, J.J. 2004. Grassland restoration with native perennial grasses in Yolo County, California. In: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings.January, 2004. Salt Lake City, UT. p.67.

Interpretive Summary: Restoration of native perennial grasses into California grasslands dominated by non-native and invasive weed species is desirable to improve rangeland conditions. Research plots were established at three grasslands; one site had no native grasses (AGR), one was sown with native grasses in 2002 (NPGR), and another in 1992 (EPGR). Changes in plant species composition, plant biomass, and selected soil and plant characteristics were documented to provide a better understanding of factors that affect stand establishment under restoration conditions. The species sown at NPGR were Nassella pulchra, N. lepida, Elymus glaucus, Bromus carinatus and Melica californica and at EPGR was N. pulchra, E. glaucus, Hordeum brachyantherum, and Poa secunda. In 2003, N. pulchra (5% cover) was the only native grass species present at NPGR and at EPGR, only N. pulchra (46% cover), E. glaucus (6% cover), and H. brachyantherum (1% cover). At EPGR, P. secunda failed to establish and H. brachyantherum showed weak persistence 3 to 4 years following establishment. In 2003, NPGR produced the greatest aboveground biomass, 7.4 tons/ac, compared to 5.3 tons/ac for EPGR and 4.3 tons/ac for AGR. Only half as much biomass was produced in 2002, a drier year, but relative proportions remained the same among the sites. Earlier season plant growth, and possibly soil and plant factors associated with planting, contributed to higher stand biomass production at NPGR and EPGR, compared to AGR. If restoration of native perennial grass species is to succeed under California dryland conditions, improvements in plant establishment and persistence must be developed.

Technical Abstract: Restoration of native perennial grasses into California grasslands dominated by non-native and invasive weed species is desirable to improve rangeland conditions. Research plots were established at three grasslands; one site had no native grasses (AGR), one was sown with native grasses in 2002 (NPGR), and another in 1992 (EPGR). Changes in plant species composition, plant biomass, and selected soil and plant characteristics were documented to provide a better understanding of factors that affect stand establishment under restoration conditions. The species sown at NPGR were Nassella pulchra, N. lepida, Elymus glaucus, Bromus carinatus and Melica californica and at EPGR was N. pulchra, E. glaucus, Hordeum brachyantherum, and Poa secunda. In 2003, N. pulchra (5% cover) was the only native grass species present at NPGR and at EPGR, only N. pulchra (46% cover), E. glaucus (6% cover), and H. brachyantherum (1% cover). At EPGR, P. secunda failed to establish and H. brachyantherum showed weak persistence 3 to 4 years following establishment. In 2003, NPGR produced the greatest aboveground biomass, 7.4 tons/ac, compared to 5.3 tons/ac for EPGR and 4.3 tons/ac for AGR. Only half as much biomass was produced in 2002, a drier year, but relative proportions remained the same among the sites. Earlier season plant growth, and possibly soil and plant factors associated with planting, contributed to higher stand biomass production at NPGR and EPGR, compared to AGR. If restoration of native perennial grass species is to succeed under California dryland conditions, improvements in plant establishment and persistence must be developed.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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