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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #369054

Research Project: Management and Restoration of Rangeland Ecosystems

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: Native and introduced seed mix performances on Cheatgrass Rangelands

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

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/4/2019
Publication Date: 10/17/2019
Citation: Clements, D.D., Harmon, D.N. 2019. Native and introduced seed mix performances on Cheatgrass Rangelands. Meeting Abstract. 2019.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Annually, rangeland rehabilitation efforts are conducted on rangelands following wildfires as well as on degraded rangelands in dire need of improvement to restore ecosystem function and decrease the dominance of exotic weeds such as cheatgrass. In an attempt to conduct rehabilitation efforts, disagreement exists among primarily using native species or should introduced species be primarily used to achieve success. Traditionally, introduced species such as crested wheatgrass was widely used to increase success of rehabilitating degraded rangelands due to researchers and land managers experience and recommendations of achieving higher success with this introduced species compared with their experience with native plant species, such as bluebunch wheatgrass. This research unit has been testing plant materials and their performance on Great Basin rangelands for more than three decades. In recent years, we tested the use of native, introduced and native/introduced seed mixes at two sites in northern Nevada. Seed mixes were seeded in October 2016 and 2016 following weed control practices using pre-emergent herbicides to control and reduce cheatgrass competition. Introduced seed mixes performed the best over the two years and two sites, averaging an establishment of 4.3/ft² followed by the native mix of 3.0/ft² and 2.9/ft² for the native/introduced mix. The native mix out-performed both the introduced and native/introduced mix when the site received well above average precipitation. Following the October 2016 seeding, the Bedell study site received 19.8” of annual precipitation, on a 10-12” precipitation zone, and the native seed mix established 4.3 plants/ft² compared to 4.0/² for the introduced mix and 2.3/ft² for then native/introduced mix. It is important to understand that these arid sites receive many more below average than above average precipitation years.