Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Agrostis scabra

Introductory

SPECIES: Agrostis scabra
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Matthews, Robin F. 1992. Agrostis scabra. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].
ABBREVIATION : AGRSCA SYNONYMS : Agrostis hyemalis (Walt.) B.S.P. var. tenuis (Tuckerm.) Gl. Agrostis geminata Trin. Agrostis hyemalis Auct. SCS PLANT CODE : AGSC5 COMMON NAMES : ticklegrass hairgrass rough bentgrass winter bentgrass TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of tickle grass is Agrostis scabra Willdenow [21,35,41,47]. It is also occasionally referred to as A. hyemalis Auct. (or other authorities) [2,17,18] but is considered to be specifically distinct from A. hyemalis (Walt.) B.S.P. The following varieties are recognized: Agrostis scabra var. geminata (Trin.) Swallen [16,21,30,42] Agrostis scabra var. septentrionalis Fern. [10,21,35,42] A. scabra hybridizes with A. stolonifera and A. exarata [47]. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Agrostis scabra
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Tickle grass is distributed throughout Alaska, the continental United States (but sparingly in the Southeast), Greenland, Canada, Mexico, and Asia [2,13,17,42,47]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES10  White - red - jack pine    FRES11  Spruce - fir    FRES12  Longleaf - slash pine    FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine    FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood    FRES19  Aspen - birch    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES21  Ponderosa pine    FRES23  Fir - spruce    FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce    FRES25  Larch    FRES26  Lodgepole pine    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES29  Sagebrush    FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub    FRES35  Pinyon - juniper    FRES36  Mountain grasslands    FRES37  Mountain meadows    FRES38  Plains grasslands    FRES39  Prairie    FRES40  Desert grasslands    FRES41  Wet grasslands    FRES42  Annual grasslands    FRES44  Alpine STATES :      AL  AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  FL  GA      HI  ID  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY  LA  ME  MD      MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  MT  NE  NV  NH  NJ      NM  NY  NC  ND  OH  OK  OR  PA  RI  SC      SD  TN  TX  UT  VT  VA  WA  WV  WI  WY      AB  BC  LB  MB  NB  NF  NT  NS  ON  PE      PQ  SK  YT  MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     1  Northern Pacific Border     2  Cascade Mountains     3  Southern Pacific Border     4  Sierra Mountains     5  Columbia Plateau     6  Upper Basin and Range     7  Lower Basin and Range     8  Northern Rocky Mountains     9  Middle Rocky Mountains    10  Wyoming Basin    11  Southern Rocky Mountains    12  Colorado Plateau    13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont    14  Great Plains    15  Black Hills Uplift    16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K001  Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest    K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest    K005  Mixed conifer forest    K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest    K010  Ponderosa shrub forest    K011  Western ponderosa forest    K012  Douglas-fir forest    K014  Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest    K015  Western spruce - fir forest    K016  Eastern ponderosa forest    K017  Black Hills pine forest    K018  Pine - Douglas-fir forest    K019  Arizona pine forest    K021  Southwestern spruce - fir forest    K023  Juniper - pinyon woodland    K026  Oregon oakwoods    K037  Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub    K038  Great Basin sagebrush    K047  Fescue - oatgrass    K048  California steppe    K049  Tule marshes    K050  Fescue - wheatgrass    K051  Wheatgrass - bluegrass    K052  Alpine meadows and barren    K053  Grama - galleta steppe    K054  Grama - tobosa prairie    K055  Sagebrush steppe    K056  Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe    K057  Galleta - three-awn shrubsteppe    K063  Foothills prairie    K064  Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass    K065  Grama - buffalograss    K066  Wheatgrass - needlegrass    K067  Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass    K068  Wheatgrass - grama - buffalograss    K069  Bluestem - grama prairie    K070  Sandsage - bluestem prairie    K074  Bluestem prairie    K075  Nebraska Sandhills prairie    K076  Blackland prairie    K081  Oak savanna    K084  Cross Timbers    K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest    K094  Conifer bog    K095  Great Lakes pine forest    K098  Northern floodplain forest    K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest    K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest    K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest    K112  Southern mixed forest SAF COVER TYPES :      1  Jack pine      5  Balsam fir     12  Black spruce     13  Black spruce - tamarack     15  Red pine     16  Aspen     18  Paper birch     38  Tamarack     69  Sand pine     70  Longleaf pine     80  Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine     81  Loblolly pine    107  White spruce    201  White spruce    202  White spruce - paper birch    204  Black spruce    210  Interior Douglas-fir    212  Western larch    216  Blue spruce    217  Aspen    218  Lodgepole pine    221  Red alder    222  Black cottonwood - willow    224  Western hemlock    225  Western hemlock - Sitka spruce    227  Western redcedar - western hemlock    228  Western redcedar    229  Pacific Douglas-fir    230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock    235  Cottonwood - willow    237  Interior ponderosa pine    239  Pinyon - juniper    244  Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir    245  Pacific ponderosa pine    251  White spruce - aspen    252  Paper birch    253  Black spruce - white spruce    254  Black spruce - paper birch SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Tickle grass occurs throughout a wide variety of habitats and may be a dominant or codominant in moist meadows or on streambanks.  Published classifications listing tickle grass as a dominant component of plant associations (pas) or community types (cts) are as follows: AREA                       CLASSIFICATION            AUTHORITY CA: Sequoia NP             montane meadow pas        Halpern 1986 ID: Upper Salmon/Middle    riparian cts              Tuhy & Jensen 1982 Fork Salmon River

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Agrostis scabra
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Although tickle grass is a common and widespread species, the large ratio of seed head to foliage prevents it from being an important livestock forage plant.  Prior to flowering, however, cattle, sheep, and horses readily consume it [32,41]. Tickle grass is occasionally eaten by elk, mule deer, white-tail deer, pronghorn, small mammals, upland gamebirds, and waterfowl [8].  Moose may also graze on tickle grass throughout the year [26]. PALATABILITY : Tickle grass is considered to be relatively unpalatable to livestock but is consumed early in the season [32,33,41].  The relish and degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife in several western states is rated as follows [8]:                        UT          WY            MT             ND Cattle                good        fair          poor           fair Sheep                 fair        fair          poor           fair Horses                fair        fair          poor           fair Elk                   good        good          ----           ---- Mule deer             fair        poor          ----           ---- White-tailed deer     ----        poor          ----           poor Pronghorn             poor        poor          ----           poor Upland gamebirds      poor        fair          ----           ---- Waterfowl             poor        poor          ----           fair Small nongame birds   poor        fair          ----           ---- Small mammals         poor        fair          ----           ---- NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Tickle grass has been rated as fair in energy value and low in protein value [8]. COVER VALUE : In certain areas, tickle grass provides moderate cover for white-tailed deer, pronghorn, small mammals, upland gamebirds, and small nongame birds.  It may also provide good cover for waterfowl [8]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Tickle grass is a suitable candidate for revegetation programs, particularly in northern regions [43].  It has been used successfully in seeding experiments on alpine sites, where areas disturbed by grazing, recreation, and mining or mineral exploration are common [4]. Tickle grass is also reported to be common on abandoned coal-mine sites in Alberta [37] and has colonized industrially damaged sites near Sudbury, Ontario [19].  It naturally invades areas damaged by sulfur emissions [48] and can be found on soils with copper concentrations of 450 p/m and nickel concentrations of 500 p/m [15].  In Yellowstone National Park, tickle grass was seeded onto disturbed sites and after one growing season comprised 18 to 30 percent of the vegetation on test plots [29].  In revegetation trials in the Yukon Territory, seedlings emerged in the first growing season in 100 percent of seeded plots.  All plots contained viable plants 7 years later.  Eighty-six percent of plants produced seed in the second growing season, and all live plants produced seed during the seventh growing season [43].  In addition, tickle grass has a fibrous root system that is effective in preventing soil erosion [8,15,48]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Tickle grass is one of the most successful native grasses in the revegetation programs in which it has been included [29,43].  It has shown good potential for both short-term and long-term revegetation, and has low establishment requirements [8].  Tickle grass seed is not available commercially, but it is produced at the Plant Materials Center in Bridger, Montana [4,29].  Seed can be collected at a rate of approximately 3.3 ounces per hour (95 g/hr) [29].  Tickle grass produces lush growth in the first year if fertilized.  In field trials near Tent Mountain, Alberta, it produced greater than 20 percent cover in fertilized plots in the first growing season [15].  In alpine areas, seeds should be planted in the fall to avoid breaking dormancy and to allow for optimal growth in the spring [29].  Tickle grass is very effective at seed dispersal, and it is not necessary to plant seeds in areas where a source is nearby [15]. Tickle grass increases in response to grazing [46].  Because the plant is not readily grazed after flowering, it is only utilized in the spring or early summer.

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Agrostis scabra
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Tickle grass is a short-lived, perennial bunchgrass.  Culms are slender and erect, and the basal leaves are often scabrous.  The panicle is large and diffuse at maturity [1,10,30,47].  Tickle grass is typically 6 to 39 inches (15-100 cm) tall [10,18,23] but often reaches 50 inches (130 cm) in height [31,32].  The plant has a fibrous root system [48] but is not rhizomatous [31]. Tickle grass is often confused with winter bentgrass (A. hyemalis (Walt.) B.S.P.), but the latter generally flowers earlier [13]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :       Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Tickle grass reproduces primarily by seed but can spread laterally by stolons.  The diffuse inflorescence breaks away at maturity and can be dispersed over long distances by wind [15].  Seeds colonize recently disturbed sites with exposed mineral soil seedbeds [22]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Tickle grass occurs throughout a wide variety of habitats including woodlands, forest openings, grasslands, shrublands, meadows, swamps, bogs, marshes, and stream and lake margins [5,6,24,47].  It also grows on disturbed sites, such as in ditches or along roadsides, and in pastures or abandoned fields [14,24,28].  Tickle grass occurs from sea level to alpine zones [4,15,17].  It occupies sites as high as 12,000 feet (3,600 m) in Colorado [8].  Tickle grass is tolerant of a wide range of moisture regimes; it thrives in wet or moist soils and can survive seasonal stem submergence [13,15,41].  Tickle grass is also found in dry habitats and is a common component of semiarid grasslands and sagebrush communities [8,10,15,18]. Tickle grass grows well on sandy loam, loam, and clay loam soil textures [8].  It is adapted to soils that are low in nutrients and is tolerant of low pH levels [15].  Tickle grass shows poor growth in sodic soils [8]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Tickle grass is generally a pioneer or invader species [11,15,22].  It is relatively shade intolerant, and thrives in open, sunny locations [15]. Seed is widely dispersed by wind and requires bare mineral soil for establishment; seedlings are common on recently disturbed sites [15,22]. Tickle grass has invaded abandoned fields throughout prairie regions, and barren sandy soils near Coniston, Ontario.  It is a pioneer of dry white spruce (Picea glauca) sites near Norman Wells, Northwest Territories [15], and clearcut jack pine (Pinus banksiana) sites in Saskatchewan [7]. Once tickle grass becomes established, it may remain important throughout the early seral stages [22].  In boreal forest floodplain succession, tickle grass invades initially, and then endures through the early willow stages [25,44].  Tickle grass is also a component of near climax range communities in Montana [36].  In the Sierra Nevada, California, tickle grass is an increaser species in climax meadow vegetation [33]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Tickle grass flowers from June to September, depending on location [8,10,13].  Seed is shed in late summer [41].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Agrostis scabra
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Wind-dispersed tickle grass seeds readily colonize bare mineral soil on recently burned sites [6,20,38].  Seeds may also be stored for short durations in the soil, allowing for early establishment of areas burned in the spring [11]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Tussock graminoid    Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Agrostis scabra
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire generally top-kills tickle grass.  Specific effects on tickle grass mortality, however, are not well documented. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : In general, tickle grass increases in abundance in response to fire. Seedlings immediately colonize recently burned areas, provided a favorable seedbed has been established [27,39].  Annual spring burns in aspen stands in Alberta caused an increase in tickle grass inflorescence production.  In unburned areas, there was an average of one flower head per square foot (10/sq m), but on burned sites 10 flower heads per square foot (110/sq m) were produced [2].  In interior Alaska, seedlings were not found in burned plots where the organic layer had not been completely removed, although a seed source was nearby.  Seedlings were, however, abundant on adjacent firelines [45]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : Hamilton's Research Paper and the following Research Project Summaries provide information on prescribed fire use and postfire response of many plant species including ticklegrass: FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Agrostis scabra
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