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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335490

Title: Using the Lawson Aerator for range improvement practices

item Clements, Darin - Charlie
item MCLAIN, JOHN - Resource Concepts
item Harmon, Daniel - Dan
item SCHADE, JAN - Wildfire Conservation Group

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2016
Publication Date: 1/29/2017
Citation: Clements, D.D., Mclain, J., Harmon, D.N., Schade, J. 2017. Using the Lawson Aerator for range improvement practices. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. 70:47.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Heavy duty implements designed and built for manipulating rangeland vegetation and soils to achieve desired results have been around for many decades. Rangeland drills were effective in reseeding severely deteriorated rangelands and creating effective seedings as early as the 1950’s. Rangeland drills, brush hogs, Dixie harrows, tandem discs, land imprinters and other equipment have all played a part in treating rangeland environments. The Lawson Aerator is one of the newer implements to enter the scene for rangeland improvement. The Lawson Aerator shows great promise due to its ability to crush the heavy brush, reducing shrub canopies from 5-6’ heights to 8-12”, while also chopping the brush and aerating the soil. More productive sites with the presence of long-lived perennial grasses benefit from Lawson Aerator treatments as the perennial grasses are released and herbaceous component of the environment increase in density and vigor. Shrubs are not 100% controlled and the fall time treatment as some survive and even re-seeds big sagebrush (Artemisia tridintata) shrubs and improves the habitat by enhancing stand age structure and edge affect. The Lawson Aerator comes with a seeder or broadcast seeding attachment which is used for less productive sites as the habitat is seeded simultaneously with the shrub crushing activity and therefore, increases the density of perennial grasses through the recruitment of new seeded species seedlings. In central Nevada, prior to this mechanical treatment, the decadent big sagebrush cover was over 40% and the presence of desirable herbaceous vegetation was nearly absent, 1.3/m². By 2016 the habitat experienced more than a 200% increase in perennial grasses and the treated habitat was occupied by sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), where two new strutting/lek (breeding) habitats were established through this range improvement practice. This innovative treatment has provided excellent wildlife and grazing values to the area.