Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Poa secunda

Introductory

SPECIES: Poa secunda
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Howard, Janet L. 1997. Poa secunda. 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 : POASEC SYNONYMS : Poa ampla Merr. [49] big bluegrass Poa canbyi (Scribn.) Piper [29,39,49] Canby bluegrass Poa gracillima Vasey [35,49] slender bluegrass Poa incurva Scribn. & Will [49] Poa juncifolia Scribn. [30,35,49] alkali bluegrass Poa nevadensis Vasey [35,39,49] Nevada bluegrass Poa sandbergii Vasey [30,35,49] Sandberg bluegrass Poa scabrella (Thurb.) Benth. ex Vasey [35,49] pine bluegrass SCS PLANT CODE : POSE COMMON NAMES : Sandberg bluegrass TAXONOMY : The currently recognized scientific name of Sandberg bluegrass is Poa secunda Presl. [33,38,70]. Based upon different chromosome numbers, Soreng [59] recognizes two subspecies of Sandberg bluegrass: P. secunda ssp. secunda and P. secunda ssp. juncifolia (Scribn.) R.J. Soreng. Most systematists consider the entities listed under the SYNONYMS heading above to be ecotypes, forms, or cultivars within the Poa secunda complex [33,40,41,70]. Characteristics used to separate these entities vary even within a single population and can result from environmental conditions or a tendency for individual plants to be self-fertile [33,35,41]. Hickman [33] describes delicate bluegrass as a distinct species, P. tennerrima Scribn. Kartesz [38], however, lists it as a synonym for P. secunda. Sandberg bluegrass hybridizes with Wheeler bluegrass (P. nervosa) [70] and Kentucky bluegrass (P. pratensis) [33]. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : NO-ENTRY OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Poa secunda
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Sandberg bluegrass occurs from southeastern Alaska across southern Canada (although sporadically east of the Rocky Mountains), throughout the western and Great Plains states to Arkansas and the Great Lakes region.  It occurs infrequently in New Mexico and Arizona [29,33,58,59]. Disjunct populations occur on the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec and in Chile [41]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES10  White-red-jack pine    FRES15  Oak - hickory    FRES17  Elm-ash-cottonwood    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES21  Ponderosa pine    FRES23  Fir - spruce    FRES26  Lodgepole pine    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES29  Sagebrush    FRES30  Desert shrub    FRES33  Southwestern shrubsteppe    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 :      AK  AR  AZ  CA  CO  HI  ID  KS  MI  MN      MT  NE  NV  NM  ND  OK  OR  SD  TX  UT      WA  WI  WY  AB  BC  MB  ON  PQ  SK  YT 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    15  Black Hills Uplift    16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K003  Silver fir-Douglas-fir forest    K005  Mixed conifer forest    K007  Red fir forest    K008  Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest    K009  Pine-cypress forest    K010  Ponderosa shrub forest    K011  Western ponderosa forest    K020  Spruce-fir-Douglas-fir forest    K022  Great Basin pine forest    K024  Juniper steppe woodland    K025  Alder-ash forest    K026  Oregon oakwoods    K028  Mosaic of K002 and K026    K029  California mixed evergreen forest    K030  California oakwoods    K033  Chaparral    K034  Montane chaparral    K035  Coastal sagebrush    K039  Blackbrush    K047  Fescue-oatgrass    K048  California steppe    K050  Fescue-wheatgrass    K051  Wheatgrass-bluegrass    K065  Grama-buffalograss    K066  Wheatgrass-needlegrass    K067  Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass    K068  Wheatgrass-grama-buffalograss    K095  Great Lakes pine forest SAF COVER TYPES :      1  Jack pine     42  Bur oak     63  Cottonwood    206  Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir    207  Red fir    208  Whitebark pine    210  Interior Douglas-fir    211  White fir    213  Grand fir    217  Aspen    218  Lodgepole pine    219  Limber pine    220  Rocky Mountain juniper    221  Red alder    222  Black cottonwood-willow    229  Pacific Douglas-fir    233  Oregon white oak    234  Douglas-fir-tanoak-Pacific madrone    235  Cottonwood-willow    236  Bur oak    237  Interior ponderosa pine    238  Western juniper    239  Pinyon-juniper    243  Sierra Nevada mixed conifer    244  Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir    245  Pacific ponderosa pine    246  California black oak    247  Jeffrey pine    248  Knobcone pine    249  Canyon live oak    250  Blue oak-foothills pine    255  California coast live oak    256  California mixed subalpine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES :    101  Bluebunch wheatgrass    102  Idaho fescue    103  Green fescue    104  Antelope bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass    105  Antelope bitterbrush-Idaho fescue    106  Bluegrass scabland    107  Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass    108  Alpine Idaho fescue    109  Ponderosa pine shrubland    110  Ponderosa pine-grassland    201  Blue oak woodland    202  Coast live oak woodland    203  Riparian woodland    204  North coastal shrub    205  Coastal sage shrub    206  Chamise chaparral    207  Scrub oak mixed chaparral    208  Ceanothus mixed chaparral    209  Montane shrubland    210  Bitterbrush    212  Blackbush    213  Alpine grassland    214  Coastal prairie    215  Valley grassland    216  Montane meadows    217  Wetlands    301  Bluebunch wheatgrass-blue grama    302  Bluebunch wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass    303  Bluebunch wheatgrass-western wheatgrass    304  Idaho fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass    305  Idaho fescue-Richardson needlegrass    306  Idaho fescue-slender wheatgrass    307  Idaho fescue-threadleaf sedge    308  Idaho fescue-tufted hairgrass    309  Idaho fescue-western wheatgrass    311  Rough fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass    312  Rough fescue-Idaho fescue    314  Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass    315  Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue    317  Bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass    318  Bitterbrush-Idaho fescue    319  Bitterbrush-rough fescue    320  Black sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass    321  Black sagebrush-Idaho fescue    322  Curlleaf mountain-mahogany-bluebunch wheatgrass    323  Shrubby cinquefoil-rough fescue    324  Threetip sagebrush-Idaho fescue    401  Basin big sagebrush    402  Mountain big sagebrush    403  Wyoming big sagebrush    404  Threetip sagebrush    405  Black sagebrush    406  Low sagebrush    408  Other sagebrush types    409  Tall forb    410  Alpine rangeland    411  Aspen woodland    412  Juniper-pinyon woodland    413  Gambel oak    414  Salt desert shrub    415  Curlleaf mountain-mahogany    416  True mountain-mahogany    417  Littleleaf mountain-mahogany    421  Chokecherry-serviceberry-rose    422  Riparian    501  Saltbush-greasewood    502  Grama-galleta    504  Juniper-pinyon pine woodland    505  Grama-tobosa shrub    601  Bluestem prairie    607  Wheatgrass-needlegrass    608  Wheatgrass-grama-needlegrass    612  Sagebrush-grass    613  Fescue grassland    614  Crested wheatgrass    615  Wheatgrass-saltgrass-grama    715  Grama-buffalograss    721  Sand bluestem-little bluestem (plains)    722  Sand sagebrush-mixed prairie    717  Little bluestem-Indiangrass-Texas wintergrass HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Classifications listing Sandberg bluegrass as a dominant or indicator species are listed below. Vegetation and soils of the Cow Creek Watershed [7] Vegetation and soils of the Coils Creek Watershed [8] An ecological reconnaissance of the Artemisia steppe on the east central    Owyhee uplands of Oregon [17] Steppe vegetation of Washington [18] Sagebrush-steppe habitat types in northern Colorado: a first    approximation [24] Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington [26] Plant communities of the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon and    southeastern Washington [31] Sagebrush-grass habitat types of southern Idaho [34] Plant associations of the Crooked River National Grassland [36] Meeks Table Research Natural Area reference sampling and habitat    classification [61] Native vegetation of Idaho [64]

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Poa secunda
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Sandberg bluegrass is a widespread and highly drought-resistant forage grass.  It is one of the earliest grasses to green up in spring and is sought by all classes of livestock.  Sandberg bluegrass matures early and remains choice for a shorter time than other forage bunchgrasses. Horses and cattle continue to make some use of it during the summer months.  In the fall, horses, cattle, and domestic sheep graze the cured foliage [66].  Townsend's ground squirrels apparently consume Sandberg bluegrass in portion to the grass' relative abundance [42].  On the Arid Land Ecology Reserve of eastern Washington, where Sandberg bluegrass is a dominant grass, Sandberg bluegrass averaged 49 percent of the Townsend ground squirrel's diet [37]. PALATABILITY : The degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife species for Sandberg bluegrass in several western states is rated below [21].  The values reported are a compilation of ratings given to plant populations identified as Sandberg bluegrass, Nevada bluegrass, big bluegrass, and Canby's bluegrass.  For this reason some entries have more than one value.                      CO          MT          UT          WY      Cattle              good        good        good        good       Sheep             good/fair     good      good/fair     good       Horses            good/fair     good        good        good      Pronghorn           ----        poor      good/fair   good/fair Elk                 ----      good/poor   good/poor     good Mule deer           good      good/poor   good/fair   good/fair Small mammals       ----        ----      good/fair     good Small nongame birds ----        ----      good/fair     good Upland game birds   ----        ----      good/fair     good Waterfowl           ----        ----      fair/poor   fair/poor NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Sandberg bluegrass has a fair energy content but is generally considered to be a poor source of protein [21]. COVER VALUE : The degree to which Sandberg bluegrass provides cover for wildlife species has been rated as follows [21]:                         CO           MT           UT            WY Small mammals          ----         ----         fair       good/fair Small nongame birds    ----         ----       fair/poor    good/fair Upland game birds      ----         ----       fair/poor  good/fair/poor Waterfowl              ----         good       fair/poor    fair/poor In shrub-steppe of eastern Washington, elk preferred big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)-Sandberg bluegrass habitat for bedding and Sandberg bluegrass-cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) habitat for foraging [47]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Sandberg bluegrass is often included in native seed mixes [6,16]. Maguire and others [45] provide information on processing Sandberg bluegrass seed. Rehabilitation case examples:  Sandberg bluegrass was included in a herbaceous seed mix used on coal spoils in northwestern Colorado. Sandberg bluegrass established successfully and remained an important component of the vegetation for at least 7 years after seeding [55]. After the level of a lake in the Columbia River Basin of eastern Washington was raised, native riparian species were planted on the new shoreline to prevent establishment and spread of noxious weeds.  A Sandberg bluegrass cultivar, `Sherman' big bluegrass (Poa ampla sensu Hitckcock and Cronquist [35]), and `Durar' hard fescue (Festuca ovina ssp. duriuscula) were seeded in.  Five years after planting, dense grass cover had established.  Few forbs, shrubs, or trees had established except on spots that were missed during grass seeding operations [13]. `Sherman' big bluegrass was rated among the 10 top performing grasses for erosion control in the Tahoe Basin of California [57]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Wildlife habitat restoration after fire:  Sage grouse disappeared from the Fitzner/Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve of north-central Washington following large-acreage wildfires that removed big sagebrush. Postfire vegetation was dominated by Sandberg bluegrass and bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata).  In order to reduce grass cover and increase sagebrush cover for sage grouse, big sagebrush seeds from unburned, remnant plants were hand-seeded on plowed, herbicide-treated (glyphosate) plots and on untreated plots.  Sandberg bluegrass cover was reduced the most, and big sagebrush establishment was best, on herbicide-treated plots.  Bluebunch wheatgrass did not respond to herbicide treatment [22]. Range:  Sandberg bluegrass is a palatable species, but its production is closely tied to weather conditions.  It produces little forage in drought years, making it a less dependable food source than other perennial bunchgrasses [20]. Sandberg bluegrass increases under grazing pressure [65].  In bluebunch wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass habitat types of eastern Washington, cheatgrass and Sandberg bluegrass often occur on the same site.  One or the other may be favored depending on the class of livestock.  With heavy grazing by domestic sheep, Sandberg bluegrass is favored.  When cattle are the dominant grazers, cheatgrass often dominates [18]. Some forms of Sandberg bluegrass are of interest to range managers because thay are better forage grasses than the typical Poa secunda. For example, P. ampla, P. canbyi, P. juncifolia, P. nevadensis, and P. scabrella (sensu Hitckcock and others [35] and Munz [49]) tend to have longer basal leaves, and P. ampla and P. scabrella continue to grow longer into the summer [41]. Sandberg bluegrass has been identified as a high water indicator plant along Idaho waterways [54].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Poa secunda
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Sandberg bluegrass is a shallow-rooted, cool-season perennial bunchgrass.  Growth form ranges from small tufts with only one or two culms to large tussocks up to 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter [66].  Sandberg bluegrass is relatively short lived, and its populations tend to fluctuate with annual weather conditions [20]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :       Chamaephyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Sandberg bluegrass regenerates by tillering and by seed.  Plants are pollinated by wind or are self-fertile.  Sandberg bluegrass can also produce viable seed without pollination (facultative apomixis) [18,28,35,41].  Sandberg bluegrass produces significant amounts of seed in most years.  In the laboratory, fifty percent germination was obtained from fresh seed after a 3-month afterripening period [64]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Sandberg bluegrass occurs on flats and ridgetops, slopes, meadows, and open timberline.  It grows well in rich clay loam soils but most often inhabits shallow, rocky, or sandy soils.  It is the characteristic grass of the scablands of eastern Washington and Oregon [56,66].  It is usually found on well-drained soils.  Sandberg bluegrass is fairly shallow-rooted and is favored over deeper-rooted perennials in areas receiving frequent light rains or where soil moisture is otherwise limited [34,50].  In intermountain grassland of northeastern Nevada, Sandberg bluegrass-dominated communities occurred on the driest sites [46].  In southeastern Washington cheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass communities, Sandberg bluegrass generally dominated north-facing slopes, while cheatgrass dominated south-facing slopes [44].  In southern Idaho, Sandberg bluegrass was found to decrease on periodically flooded streambanks [54]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Sandberg bluegrass occurs in open sun to partial shade.  In fallow fields in western Montana, it returned 7 years after plowing [69]. Sandberg bluegrass tends to persist with fire and/or grazing.  In the absence of fire in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe, it may be shaded out by sagebrush [1,65,69].  Sandberg bluegrass succession in plant communities other than sagebrush steppe is poorly documented, but it is likely that with canopy closure, Sandberg bluegrass becomes shaded out in any plant community in which it occurs. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Sandberg bluegrass completes spring growth earlier than many other perennial grasses.  Because it is a shallow-rooted species, it must complete growth and seed production before available soil moisture has been depleted on summer-dry ranges [10]. In eastern Washington, Sandberg bluegrass has two periods of maximum leaf height:  midwinter and May.  Leaves begin growing in fall as soon as rains begin.  Soaking rains are not necessary; light showers are sufficient to initiate growth.  The decline in growth after midwinter may be due to autosenescence of fall leaves.  Spring leaves generally reach maximum development late in the season.  Cessation of growth coincides with depletion of soil moisture in the top 4 inches (10 cm) of soil.  Sandberg bluegrass roots appear to be active in the temperature range of 42 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5-15 deg C) [19]. The following data were collected from 1941 to 1947 on the upper Snake River Plain of Idaho at 5,500 feet (1,676 m) elevation.  Average precipitation was 10 inches (254 mm).  The average date of snowmelt during this period was March 30 [10].                                            Average Date                            ______________________________                            P. secunda       P. nevadensis Growth starts                 3/30               3/30 Flower stalks appear          4/27               5/6 Heads fully out               5/15               6/3 Flowers in bloom              6/5                6/18 Seed ripe                     6/26               7/9 Dissemination starts          6/30               7/15 Dissemination over            7/25               8/8 Plant drying                  5/23               6/30 Plant dried                   7/9                8/9

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Poa secunda
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Sandberg bluegrass is generally unharmed by fire.  It produces little litter, and its small bunch size and sparse litter reduces the amount of heat transferred to perennating buds in the soil [40].  Its rapid maturation in the spring also reduces fire damage, since it is dormant when most fires occur [39].  Sandberg bluegrass cover often increases when interference from other species is reduced by fire [9]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Tussock graminoid

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Poa secunda
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Sandberg bluegrass is usually unharmed or only slightly damaged by fire [51,72].  In a big sagebrush-Thurber needlegrass (Stipa thurberiana) community near Boise, Idaho, Wright and Klemmedson [71] observed no size reduction of dormant Sandberg bluegrass 1 to 3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm) in basal area after either June, July, or August fires (see the Summer Fire/Combustion Chamber/ID fire case study).  Fire may cause damage if litter has accumulated at the base of the plant, and/or if plants are old and pedestaled [72].  Large bunches are more susceptible to damage than small ones, probably because of greater litter buildup [71] and/or because the growing points of the elevated plants are no longer insulated by soil [15,64,72].  Tisdale [62] reported some damage to pedestaled Sandberg bluegrass in sagebrush with 7 to 14 percent big sagebrush cover [52]. Seed mortality and postfire seedling emergence:  Fire effects on the Sandberg bluegrass seedbank are not well documented, but fire may kill some seed in the upper layer of soil.  In one study, Sandberg bluegrass seedling emergence was significantly reduced by both "cool" and "hot" prescribed fires.  In a burning chamber, used onsite in a mountain big sagebrush community in eastern Oregon, soil surface temperatures reached a maximum of 219 degrees Fahrenheit (104 deg C) after 30 seconds with prescribed cool fire and a maximum of 781 degrees Fahrenheit (416 deg C) after 60 seconds with hot fire.  After the fires, soil samples were collected from the burn sites from two depths (0-1 cm and 1-2 cm), samples from the two depths were mixed, and the mixed-depth samples were used for greenhouse emergence trials.  Number of emerging Sandberg bluegrass seedlings follows.  Means followed by different letter differ at the 5 percent significance level; means followed by an asterisk also differed at the 1 percent significance level [14].                   Control     Cool Fire     Hot Fire                   ----------------------------------                    8.5a*         2.8b        0.3b* DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Sandberg bluegrass generally increases after fire [20,71,72].  Some variability in response has been reported, however.  Conditions that may produce variability such as site differences, prefire plant condition, and postfire weather are not well documented. Variability in fire effects is reported for Sandberg bluegrass on big sagebrush-bunchgrass sites on the Snake River Plain of Idaho.  The sites were prescription burned in 1936, protected from grazing for 1 year, then lightly grazed in spring and fall by domestic sheep.  At postfire year 15, Sandberg bluegrass on severely burned plots was producing less than plants on less severely burned plots.  At a different location in the same study, there was no difference in Sandberg bluegrass production on plots of different burn severity after 12 years [10].  After 30 years, all burned plots were producing more Sandberg bluegrass than unburned plots, and the differences in Sandberg bluegrass production attributed to fire severity were negligible.  Annual production of Sandberg bluegrass (lb/acre, air-dry) on unburned (UB) and burned (B) plots was as follows [32]:      ____________________________________________________________      |     1916        1937        1939       1948       1966   |      |   ________    ________    _______    _______    _______  |      |   UB     B    UB     B    UB    B    UB    B    UB    B  |      |   --------    --------    -------    -------    -------  |      |    7    10    12    12    33   39    58   88     8   15  |      |__________________________________________________________| Increases:  Fire generally favors production of Sandberg bluegrass and other bluegrasses (Poa spp.) over bluebunch wheatgrass when bluegrasses and bluebunch wheatgrass occur together.  Bluegrasses may also compete successfully with cheatgrass as a result of the tillering that occurs following the reduction of litter and improved insolation caused by fire [20].  But these postfire gains last only a few years, after which cheatgrass resumes prefire dominance. After a mid-July fire in western Montana, an increase in Sandberg bluegrass cover was noted the first postfire year.  Additionally, the percentage of Sandberg bluegrass plants bearing flowering stalks was 73 percent on burned plots compared to 44 percent on unburned control plots [48]. Sandberg bluegrass cover increased significantly (p < 0.05) on burned plots compared to unburned control plots following September and October (1978) prescribed burning in Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis)-bluebunch wheatgrass near Boise, Idaho.  In postfire year 1 (1979), precipitation was below normal in spring and near normal for the rest of the year.  In 1980, precipitation was two times above normal.  Percent cover of Sandberg bluegrass was [15]:                     ________________________________                     |    Control    |    Burned    |                     |_______________|______________|                     | 1979     1980 | 1979     1980|                     |_______________|______________|                     | 7.03     6.69 | 1.33     2.65|                     |_______________|______________| Four years after August wildfire in a big sagebrush-bunchgrass community in southeastern Oregon, Sandberg bluegrass and other bunchgrasses dominated burned sites.  Big sagebrush and forbs dominated adjacent unburned sites [1]. Decline:  Sandberg bluegrass cover was less on burned plots relative to unburned plots 2 years after spring or fall prescribed burning in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota [12].
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE :
For further information on Sandberg bluegrass response to fire, see
Fire Case Studies and these Research Project Summaries:
FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : 
NO-ENTRY

FIRE CASE STUDIES:

SPECIES: Poa secunda

1st CASE STUDY:
FIRE CASE STUDY CITATION : Howard, Janet L., compiler. 1997. Prescribed fire effects on Sandberg bluegrass in a mountain big sagebrush community in Lava Beds National Monument, California. In: Poa secunda. 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/ []. REFERENCES : Champlin, Mark R. 1982. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecology and management with emphasis on prescribed burning. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 136 p. Dissertation. [9484] [14]. Champlin, M. R.; Winward, A. H. 1979. The response of bunchgrasses to prescribed burning in mountain big sagebrush plant communities. In: 1979 Progress report...research in rangeland management. Special Report 549. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Agricultural Experiment Station: 14-16. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research--SEA. [73]. SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION : Lava Beds:  late spring/moderate Crooked River:  fall/severe STUDY LOCATION : The study was conducted at two locations.  The first study area was on Lava Beds National Monument,  California.  The second was on the Crooked River National Grassland near Prineville, Oregon [1,2]. PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY : Four plant communities on two locations were burned.  Mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana) was the dominant prefire shrub in all four communities.  At Lava Beds National Monument, the relatively mesic north-facing slopes were occupied by mountain big sagebrush/Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis) communities that included Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda), bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), Thurber's needlegrass (Stipa thurberiana), prairie Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), in descending order of frequency.  Swales and hilltops were dominated by mountain big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass-Thurber's needlegrass communities. Sandberg bluegrass and prairie Junegrass were also present in these communities, with lesser amounts of bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides) and cheatgrass.  At Crooked River National Grasslands, the prefire community was mountain big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass. Cheatgrass, Sandberg bluegrass, Idaho fescue, and bottlebrush squirreltail were also present, in descending order of frequency [1,2]. TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE : Sandberg bluegrass was dormant and desiccated at time of burning on both sites [2]. SITE DESCRIPTION : Lava Beds site:  Mean annual temperature is 47.7 degrees Fahrenheit (8.7 deg C); mean annual precipitation is 14.5 inches (363 mm).  The site is on a broken monocline at 4,465 feet (1,353 m) elevation.  Slopes vary from 0 to 8 percent. Crooked River site:  Mean annual temperature is 45.1 degrees Fahrenheit (7.3 deg C); mean annual precipitation is 14.0 inches (349 mm).  The site is on a 60 percent, northwest-facing slope at 3,379 feet (1,024 m) elevation.  The upper 8 inches (20 cm) of soil is tuffaceous gravel less than 0.8 inch (2 cm) in diameter with little soil between the coarse material [1]. FIRE DESCRIPTION : The purpose of the prescribed fires was to reduce mountain big sagebrush cover and increase cover of bunchgrasses.  Four plant communities were burned in 1976.  Ten 20 x 50 cm plots were located along four 15-m transects for determining herbaceous frequency, basal cover, height, and production [1].  The Lava Beds fire was a late spring burn conducted 2 days after 0.5 inch (13 mm) of rain.  The Crooked River fire was a fall burn conducted 4 days after 0.4 inch (10 mm) of rain.  Shrub fuel loading was similar at the four sites.  Strip head fires were used to ignite each area.  Flame lengths were 3 times greater and rate of fire spread 10 times faster at Crooked River than at Lava Beds, resulting in a fire intensity much greater than at Lava Beds [2]. Average weather conditions at the two study locations during prescribed burning were [1]:                              Relative     Wind        Wind Location     Temperature     Humidity     Speed     Direction                (deg F)         (%)       (mi/hr) ------------------------------------------------------------- Lava Beds        73            25        6.6-9.6       NW Crooked River    73            31        0.0-6.6      N-NE ------------------------------------------------------------- Prefire grass loading (kg/ha) was as follows.  Since big sagebrush was the dominant shrub in all four communities, communities are identified by the dominant bunchgrass [1]. ______________________________________________________________________________ |                                   Lava Beds                   Crooked River| |                     --------------------------------------    -------------| |                                Wheatgrass-     Wheatgrass-                 | |                     Fescue     Needlegrass     Needlegrass     Wheatgrass  | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------| |Sandberg bluegrass    10.0         10.0            10.0             10.0    | |Total                540.0        811.5           343.6            549.9    | |____________________________________________________________________________| Fuel moisture contents (%) during prescribed burning were [1]: Location       Grass     Shrub Foliage     1-hour Fuel     10-hour Fuel ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Lava Beds       39.9          96.9             7.5             5.4 Crooked River   35.2         118.3            26.9            26.2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Fire behavior on four plant communities follows [1].                                     Lava Beds                Crooked River                         -----------------------------------   -------------                                       Swale        Hilltop                                   -----        -------                                 Wheatgrass-   Wheatgrass- Fire Behavior         Fescue    Needlegrass   Needlegrass    Wheatgrass ------------------------------------------------------------------------- grass flame height    2.6 ft       3.0 ft       1.65 ft         8.9  ft shrub flame height   11.2 ft       7.2 ft       7.2  ft        20.1  ft rate of fire spread   3.0 ft/min   3.0 ft/min  17.8  ft/min   265.65 ft/min fireline intensity*     340          350          220            2000 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- *BTU/ft/min FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES : Sandberg bluegrass productivity generally increased after prescribed burning, although response differed by site, fire intensity, and postfire weather conditions.  At Lava Beds, precipitation in the first postfire winter was 130 percent of normal.  Precipitation at Crooked River in the first postfire winter was 86 percent of normal [1,2]. Sandberg bluegrass on the driest site at Lava Beds (hilltop) showed no response.  Production increased on the north slope and swale sites of Lava Beds and on the Crooked River site [2]. Two years after burning at Lava Beds, Sandberg bluegrass had significantly increased basal cover in Idaho fescue communities, and had regained prefire basal cover in swale and hilltop bluebunch wheatgrass-Thurber's needlegrass communities.  Sandberg bluegrass showed little change on bluebunch wheatgrass communities at Crooked River. Basal cover of Sandberg bluegrass before burning (1976) and after burning (1977 and 1978) was [1]:                        Lava Beds                    Crooked River          --------------------------------------     -------------                             Swale         Hilltop                     -----------     -----------                     Wheatgrass-     Wheatgrass-          Fescue     Needlegrass     Needlegrass      Wheatgrass ------------------------------------------------------------------ 1976      0.9a         1.3             1.4a              1.0 1977      0.6a*        1.1             0.9b*             1.5 1978      1.4b*        1.3             1.8a*             0.3 ------------------------------------------------------------------ Means followed by different letters differ at the 5% significance level.  Means followed by an asterisk differ at the 1% significance level. Height growth increased significantly.  Height (cm) of Sandberg bluegrass before and after burning was [1]:                        Lava Beds                    Crooked River          --------------------------------------     -------------                        Swale         Hilltop                     -----------     -----------                     Wheatgrass-     Wheatgrass-  Year     Fescue     Needlegrass     Needlegrass     Wheatgrass ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1976      1.07a        1.20a           1.16a           1.06a 1977      2.55b        3.76b           3.16b           4.20b 1978      3.40c        3.38c           3.60c           4.72b ----------------------------------------------------------------- Values followed by different letters within each site differ at the 1% significance level. FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS : The prescribed fires generally favored Sandberg bluegrass growth, especially on the more mesic sites.  At both Lava Beds and Crooked River, the fires reduced mountain big sagebrush cover to less than 1 percent.  Removal of shrubs and litter contributed to increased soil temperatures and therefore, to earlier growth of Sandberg bluegrass. Early growth and Sandberg bluegrass' shallow, spreading root system enabled Sandberg bluegrass to take advantage of early spring rains. With reduced competition from other species, Sandberg bluegrass increased in height and basal area [1,2].  At Lava Beds, Sandberg bluegrass and bluebunch wheatgrass apparently increased at the expense of Idaho fescue and Thurber's needlegrass.  This advantage was especially evident on the relatively moist Idaho fescue and swale sites, but also evident on the hilltop site [2]. The timing of the two fires in relation to drought conditions of 1977 may have influenced the rapid recovery of Sandberg bluegrass cover at the Lava Beds site.  At Lava Beds, a heavy 3.1-inch (79-mm) August rain occurred less than 1 month after the fire.  At Crooked River, drought followed immediately after the fire.  In addition, Lava Beds received 61 percent of its normal precipitation between September 1976 and June 1977, while Crooked River received only 41 percent of its normal precipitation during that period.
2nd CASE STUDY:
FIRE CASE STUDY CITATION : Bradley, Anne F., compiler. 1986. Response of Sandberg bluegrass from an Idaho big sagebrush community to a burn chamber experiment. In: Poa secunda. 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/ []. REFERENCE : Wright, Henry A.; Klemmedson, James O. 1965. Effect of fire on bunchgrasses of the sagebrush-grass region in southern Idaho. Ecology. 46(5): 680-688. [71]. SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION : summer/moderate STUDY LOCATION : 55 miles (88.5 km) southeast of Boise, Idaho PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY : Plants chosen for this study were part of a big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)-Thurber needlegrass (Stipa thurberiana) community.  Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda) was generally subdominant, but sometimes dominated disturbed areas.  Individual Sandberg bluegrass plants studied were on a site which had been burned and seeded to crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) in 1957 (3 years prior to the study).  Crested wheatgrass establishment was poor to fair.  Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and Russian-thistle (Salsola kali) dominated the stand, with lesser amounts of crested wheatgrass, Sandberg bluegrass, Thurber needlegrass, Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides), and needle-and-thread (Stipa comata) present. TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE : Plants were burned on three different dates in 1960.  Dates and plant condition follow: June 9     plants dry but seed not cast July 8     plants dry with some seed cast August 18  plants dry with seed stalks (culms) broken by the wind SITE DESCRIPTION : Data on the burn site are presented below:         Elevation:        2,950 feet (890 m)         Mean annual           precipitation:  8 inches (203 mm)         Topography:       undulating         Soils:            soils are part of the Sierozem great soil                           groups with surface soils a light,                           grayish-brown, loosely structured noncalcareous,                           sandy loam low in organics; subsurface soils are                           light gray, calcareous and compact; color of the                           subsoils and depth to lime vary         Geology:          sedimentary deposits in the Bruneau Formation;                           detrital material is dominated by massive lake                           beds of white-weathering fine silt, diatomite,                           clay, and minor amounts of alluvial silt and                           sand                         FIRE DESCRIPTION : Sandberg bluegrass plants were burned individually.  Plants were selected by two basal area size classes.  Classes were 0.5 to 1.5 inches (1.27-3.81 cm) in diameter, and greater than 2 inches (5.08 cm) in diameter.  A combustion chamber made from a 55-gallon oil drum and a metal ring restricted the fire to the vicinity of the study plant. Other plants and litter within a 1-foot (30.5-cm) radius from the study plant were removed.  Shredded paper was used for fuel.  Fuel levels were predetermined to give maximum soil temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit and 400 degrees Fahrenheit (93 and 204 deg C).  Burning treatments occurred on June 9, July 8, and August 18, 1960. FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES : Sandberg bluegrass was burned on three different dates and at two different temperatures.  The following results were obtained:        Percentage of original basal area alive 1 year after treatment ----------------------------------------------------------------------------                            June            July          August        Control                       ----------      ----------    ------------     -------  temperature (F)*      200    400      200    400    200      400                             ----------      ----------    ------------     ------- small (0.5-1.5 in)    183    231      148    163    141      213       166 large (>2 in)         120    111       95     92     98       98       106 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- *200 deg F = 93 deg C; 400 deg F = 204 deg C There was no significant change in basal area at any season for either size class. FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS : Sandberg bluegrass was relatively unaffected by fire in this study. Dormancy and the unpedestaled condition of the plants were probably responsible for their survival.  Pedestaled plants may be more susceptible to fire damage, since their growing points are uninsulated by soil.

References for species: Poa secunda


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