PROACTIVE MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE RANGELAND PRODUCTION
Location: Range and Livestock Research
Title: Fire Season and Frequency Effects on Native Grass Bud Banks in the Northern Great Plains
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2011
Publication Date: January 28, 2012
Citation: Russell, M.L., Vermeire, L.T., Hendrickson, J.R., Ganguli, A.C. 2012. Fire Season and Frequency Effects on Native Grass Bud Banks in the Northern Great Plains. Society for Range Management Abstract #0057.
Interpretive Summary: abstract only
Axillary buds, belowground meristematic tissue located on plant crowns, regulate productivity of perennial grasses. However, the impact of fire frequency and season-of-fire on quantity and viability of axillary buds is still unclear. We evaluated axillary bud populations of Bouteloua gracilis, Hesperostipa comata, and Pascopyrum smithii following summer, fall, or spring burns as well as a non-burned control factorialized with fire frequencies of 1, 3, or 6 yr with fire treatments initiated during 2006. Tillers from each species were collected from each plot during October 2010 and August 2011 cleaned and assessed to determine quantity and viability of buds for each tiller. Each grass species differed in the number of total buds, with Bouteloua gracilis having the greatest number of total buds per tiller (8.2 ± 0.3), Pascopyrum smithii having an intermediate number (5.6 ± 0.3) and Hesperostipa comata maintaining the least (3.7 ± 0.3). There was a species × season-of-fire interaction for bud viability. Hesperostipa comata responded similarly across all seasons of fire. Bouteloua gracilis had more active buds following fall fires than following spring or summer fires. Spring fires increased active buds on Pascopyrum smithii compared to fall and summer fire treatments. These preliminary results indicate fewer buds exist for Hesperostipa comata, potentially enabling meristematic limitations and altering community composition. Season of fire may be selected to achieve a greater amount of total and viable buds for Bouteloua gracilis and Pascopyrum smithii, contributing to the overall maintenance of belowground bud reserves.