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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Pest Management Research » Research » Research Project #418061


Location: Pest Management Research

2010 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Restoration occurs over large scales after disturbance, often to maintain forage production or to reduce weed infestation. Because restoration is typically large scale, managers cannot employ gardening methods of watering, fertilizing, and weeding to ensure the growth of desired species. Therefore, we must engineer our restoration practices to minimize the need for such intensive management. This includes using seed sources that will establish and reproduce without supplemental water and using restoration seed mixes that will increase the likelihood of establishment and reproduction of component species and decrease the likelihood of weed invasion in these areas. The proposed research is to examine the differential success of agronomically-produced versus wildland collected seed sources and to determine the effect of including annual forbs in restoration seed mixes. This research addresses important questions and does so in a financially efficient manner, capitalizing on an already permitted and funded roadside restoration project in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP).

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Marked seeds of agronomically-produced and wildland-collected perennial grasses will be placed in each plot and their establishment will be monitored. Barren plots within the hydroseeding project will be divided among treatments: control (only perennial grasses seeded), and with annuals (native annual seeds added to seeding mix). Control plots will be established outside the roadside construction areas where pre-existing vegetation occurs. These will be clipped prior to hyrdoseeding and will be split among three treatments: all resident species included (control), one with annuals added to the seeding mix (control with annuals), and the last will have dandelions removed (control/dandelions removed). All plots will be monitored for grass establishment and for weed colonization. The effects of each treatment on the success of perennial grasses and for weed densities will be assessed.

3. Progress Report
The controlled environment data were analyzed, written up, and presented in the form of a poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Rangeland Management in March of 2010. The controlled environment data showed a provocative result of competition between annual grasses and perennial grasses in one soil type and potential facilitation in another soil type. A follow up experiment was then conducted to determine the cause of the shift in plant-plant interactions between the two soil types. This experiment separates the factors that were different between the two soil types in the first experiment: soil sterilization status and nutrient level. The follow up experiment has been completed, but data are not yet analyzed and the write up has not begun. The manuscript that will be written this fall will incorporate the results of both controlled environment experiments as well as field-collected data. ADODR monitoring is done via e-mail, phone calls, and personal contact/on-site visits.

4. Accomplishments