Submitted to: Land Rehabilitation and Maintenance Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/9/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Research was initiated in 1994 to assemble a broad genetic base and develop improved native and introduced grasses and forbs that will provide vegetative cover and soil stabilization on sites disturbed by heavy military use. Objectives also include persistence under infertile and compacted soils as well as resistance to drought and cold temperatures. Fort Carson, Colorado and the U.S. Army Training Center at Yakima, Washington were selected as major study sites. Extensive native seed collections were made from both installations, and accessions were established in replicated spaced plantings. Additional plant collections are being made during the 1995 season. The approach will be to select superior plants from the most promising accessions. These selections will form the basis for continued recurrent selection and cultivar development. Experimental strains and cultivars from the USDA-ARS breeding program at Logan, Utah as well as other breeding programs were included in seeded evaluation trials at the two training installations. Selected germplasm from these trials also will be used in the breeding program to develop improved cultivars. Traditional grass breeding programs have emphasized characters associated with forage yield and quality. We will be more concerned with rhizome and tiller development after clipping or disturbance, seedling vigor, resistance to temperature extremes, drought tolerance, and resistance to plant pests. Basic studies will be conducted to identify additional characters that enable a plant to rapidly recover or re-seed after being severely disturbed, and to persist and stabilize the soil under harsh environmental conditions. Molecular research will be initiated to mark genetic factors that condition these traits.