Location: Forage and Range Research
Project Number: 2080-21000-014-16-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Aug 1, 2011
End Date: Jul 31, 2016
The ARS will use funding provided in this agreement to continue to restore and/or evaluate the success of rehabilitated areas within degraded Gardner Saltbush communities.
The ability to restore or rehabilitate degraded Gardner saltbrush communities with forage kochia, improved cool-saason grasses, and native plant materials will be evaluated. These communities are degraded due to invasion of halogeton (annual toxic plant), which results in increased soil salinity. The evaluation will be arranged in a replicated split-block design to evaluate the establishment, persistence, and competition of improved and native plant materials with halogeton. Soil prep treatments (aggressive tillage versus minimal disturbance) will be included to determine the best methods to establish plant materials in these sites. Aggressive tillage will be done with a deep disk or rototiller to remove existing halogeton and dilute soil surface salts; whereas minimal disturbance will include no-till drilling or light soil surface disturbance (e.g. harrow). Plant materials will include standard and improved lines of forage kochia, Russian wildrye, Siberian wheatgrass, and tall wheatgrass. Controls will include plots that are not reseeded, and plots seeded to plants native to the ecosystem including Gardner saltbrush and Indian ricegrass. In addition, strategic mixtures such as forage kochia and cool-season grasses mixed with Gardner saltbrush will be included. Plant monocultures and mixes will be established via seeding and transplanting. The transplanting will allow evaluation of survival and salt tolerance, assuming successful establishment.