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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #309898

Title: Big sagebrush transplanting success in crested wheatgrass stands

item Clements, Darin - Charlie
item Harmon, Daniel - Dan

Submitted to: Society for Range Management
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2014
Publication Date: 1/31/2015
Citation: Clements, D.D., Harmon, D.N. 2015. Big sagebrush transplanting success in crested wheatgrass stands. In: Society for Range Management meeting abstracts, January 31-February 6, 2015, Sacramento, CA. 68:58.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The conversion of formerly big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate ssp. wyomingensis)/bunchgrass communities to annual grass dominance, primarily cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), in Wyoming big sagebrush ecosystems has sparked the increasing demand to establish big sagebrush on disturbed rangelands. The establishment of long-lived perennial grasses is the best known method at suppressing cheatgrass. The introduced crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) is the most competitive and widely used species to accomplish cheatgrass suppression. Seeding Wyoming big sagebrush is largely unsuccessful therefore transplanting of big sagebrush has become more popular. Most big sagebrush transplanting research has been conducted in Utah where warm-season precipitation is more prevalent and therefore spring-time transplanting efforts are recommended. In the cold desert of the Great Basin summer precipitation is very limiting. We conducted research at two separate sites in northwestern Nevada (Peterson, Dry Valley) where we compare fall versus spring transplanting of Wyoming big sagebrush into crested wheatgrass stands. One hundred Wyoming big sagebrush transplants were sown and propagated in 1 Liter (1 qt) sized containers for 6 months and then transplanted to the field at 1m (3.3ft) centers. Transplanting occurred in the middle of April and November in 2012 and 2013. Fall transplanting experienced the highest success, 62% (Peterson site), while spring transplants experienced the lowest success at 13% (Dry Valley). The Peterson study site received 16.2 cm (6.4”) in 2012 and 27.6 cm (10.9”) of precipitation in 2013. The Dry Valley site only received 8.1 cm (3.2”) and 14.2 cm (5.6”) in 2012 and 2013, respectfully. Precipitation following fall transplanting at these sites is more prevalent in the fall winter months (October-March) than spring and summer months (April-September) which we believe contributes to the significantly higher success of Wyoming big sagebrush fall transplants experienced in northwestern Nevada.