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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #413921

Research Project: System-based Management and Rehabilitation of Rangelands

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: The use of the Lawson Aerator on rangelands

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

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/18/2024
Publication Date: 3/22/2024
Citation: Clements, D.D., Harmon, D.N. 2024. The use of the Lawson Aerator on rangelands. Meeting Abstract. 24:6.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Heavy duty implements designed and built for manipulating rangeland vegetation and soils have been around for many decades. Rangeland drills, brush hogs, Dixie harrows, tandem discs and other equipment have played an important role in treating degraded rangeland environments. The Lawson Aerator is one of the newer implements to enter the scene for rangeland improvements. The Lawson Aerator, designed as a pasture renovator in southern states that were being invaded by woody species, has earned a solid reputation and since found its way West. The aerator has significant weight distributed over 2 tandem drums that are typically 12’ x 3’ diameter with an option of adding liquid to the drums for additional weight. The drums display angled, protruding and spaced 8” x 4” x 1” steel plates with sharpened ends for effective chopping of woody material and penetration into soils for aeration. More recently, the Lawson Aerator has been used to treat old decadent shrub communities to improve herbaceous resources. The use of the Lawson Aerator does not result in 100% death of big sagebrush, and if treated correctly in the fall months while big sagebrush seed is on the plant can actually result in the seeding of big sagebrush, therefore resulting in and added edge effect to the habitat as well as enhancing stand age diversity. Here we describe case studies on the potential of the Lawson Aerator to achieve stated goals in decreasing stand decadence, decreasing shrub fuel loads and increasing grazing and wildlife resources. Managers experiencing habitats with old and decadent shrubs should seriously consider using the Lawson Aerator as a tool to manipulate degraded shrub communities, along with seeding adaptable species to improve herbaceous species composition, edge effect for wildlife and improved grazing resources.