Ceanothus integerrimus


Table of Contents


INTRODUCTORY


Gary A. Monroe @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Howard, Janet L. 1997. Ceanothus integerrimus. 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/ [].

FEIS ABBREVIATION:
CEAINT

COMMON NAMES:
deer brush

TAXONOMY:
The scientific name of deer brush is Ceanothus integerrimus Hook. & Arn. (Rhamnaceae) [31,32,40,59]. There are several poorly defined varieties of deer brush based upon leaf morphology and flower color [31,59]:

Ceanothus integerrimus var. californicus (Kell.) Benson
Ceanothus integerrimus var. integerrimus
Ceanothus integerrimus var. macrothyrsus (Torr.) Benson
Ceanothus integerrimus var. puberulus (Greene) Abrams

Deer brush hybridizes with mountain whitethorn (C. cordulatus), woolyleaf ceanothus (C. tomentosus), and Lemmon's ceanothus (C. lemmonii) [59].

SYNONYMS:
None

LIFE FORM:
Shrub

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Ceanothus integerrimus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
Deer brush occurs in the Cascade Range from southwestern Washington to California. In California, where deer brush is most abundant, distribution continues south to the southern Sierra Nevada and west through the Klamath and North Coast ranges, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the South Coast, Transverse, and Peninsular ranges to Baja California. Disjunct populations occur in the Warner Mountains of California, central Arizona, southeastern Arizona, and west-central New Mexico [21,31,32].

ECOSYSTEMS [26]:
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES23 Fir-spruce
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub

STATES [81]:
AZ  CA  NM  OR  WA  MEXICO

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [10]:
1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
7 Lower Basin and Range
12 Colorado Plateau

KUCHLER [48] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K003 Silver fir-Douglas-fir forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K007 Red fir forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K028 Mosaic of K002 and K026
K029 California mixed evergreen forest
K030 California oakwoods
K033 Chaparral
K034 Montane chaparral

SAF COVER TYPES [24]:
207 Red fir
211 White fir
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
233 Oregon white oak
234 Douglas-fir-tanoak-Pacific madrone
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir
245 Pacific ponderosa pine
246 California black oak
249 Canyon live oak
250 Blue oak-foothills pine

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [67]:
201 Blue oak woodland
206 Chamise chaparral
208 Ceanothus mixed chaparral
209 Montane shrubland
415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany
422 Riparian
503 Arizona chaparral

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
Deer brush is a component of chaparral communities including Arizona chaparral. In the Cascade-Sierra Nevada cordillera, it is most common in montane chaparral but also occurs in upper, moister portions of lower-elevation chaparral types such as chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) and manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.) [15,75].

Deer brush grows in the understories of conifer and oak (Quercus spp.) communities [40,55,56,83] and in scattered patches within timberlands and woodlands. Patches of decadent deer brush are common in open Coulter pine (Pinus coulteri) stands [83]. Deer brush often dominates early successional stages of low-elevation conifer communities [33]. About 16 thousand acres (6,400 ha) of California's timberland is occupied by deer brush fields [16].

In Arizona chaparral, deer brush occurs in Turbinella oak (Q. turbinella)-shrub and Pringle manzanita (A. pringlei) communities [20,23]. Deer brush also occurs in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. arizonica and P. p. var. scopulorum) and riparian forests of Arizona. In New Mexico, it occurs primarily in riparian forest [21].

Plant associates: Shrub associates in Turbinella oak-shrub communities of Arizona include birchleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides), banana yucca (Yucca baccata), and yellowleaf silktassel (Garrya flavescens) [21].

Associates in montane chaparral include manzanitas, especially whiteleaf manzanita (A. viscida), pale serviceberry (Amelanchier pallida), chaparral whitethorn (Ceanothus leucodermis), oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), and twinberry honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata) [33].

Shrub associates in coniferous forest of California and Oregon include Sierra mountain misery (Chamaebatia foliosus) 6, whitethorn ceanothus (Ceanothus cordulatus), gooseberries and currants (Ribes spp.), and manzanitas [22].

Overstory tree associates of deer brush not previously listed as Kuchler [48] or SAF [24] types include incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), sugar pine (P. lambertiana) [46,55], giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) [45,85], bigcone Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa), interior live oak (Q. wislizenii), Nuttall's scrub oak (Q. dumosa) [33], California buckeye (Aesculus californica) [9], and Baker cypress (Cupressus bakeri) [71].

Publications describing plant communities in which deer brush is a dominant component of the vegetation follow.

A classification system for California's hardwood rangelands [3]
California chaparral [30]
Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of California [33]
Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges [65]
Montane and subalpine forests of the Transverse and Peninsular ranges [79]
An introduction to the plant communities of the Santa Ana and San Jacinto mountains [83]

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Ceanothus integerrimus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Botanical description: This description covers characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g., [31,59]).

Deer brush is a native, drought-deciduous shrub reaching 3 to 18 feet (1-6 m) in height at maturity. It is loosely branched and spreading in form. Flowers are borne in compound clusters. The fruit is a sticky capsule containing small, obovoid seeds [31,59]. Nitrogen-fixing actinomycetes form nodules in deer brush roots [17,25].

Deer brush stems, excluding the root crown, live about 35 years. The stem of one specimen has been aged at 47 years. Maximum age attained by roots and root crowns has not been determined, but life span of these organs can be more than 35 years if periodic top-kill occurs [22].

Raunkiaer [63] life form:
Phanerophyte

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Deer brush flowers from spring to early fall [31,40,59]. Heaviest flowering occurs in May and June [73], with seeds dispersing in summer [41]. Since deer brush is drought-deciduous, most leaves are shed in summer. A few leaves are usually retained throughout winter [21,31].

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
Deer brush reproduces from seed and by sprouting from the root crown and/or stem [22]. It occasionally layers where branches contact soil [14].

Seed reproduction: Deer brush first produces seed at about 4 years of age [21]. Ripe seed is forcibly ejected from the capsule when the capsule dries and splits [64]. Deer brush is a seed banking species. Seed is stored in extremely high densities in duff and the upper few centimeters of mineral soil. Anderson [4] estimated that the deer brush seed population in a mixed coniferous forest in northern California was greater than 2 million seeds per hectare. Viability of the seed averaged 90.6 percent in the laboratory [4]. Similarly, Kauffman and Martin [37,38] reported a range of 60 to 90 percent viability of deer brush seed from three northern California mixed-conifer forests. Viability of deer brush seed is generally high, and the seed is long-lived. Quick and Quick [62] reported 90 percent viability of 24-year-old seed. Other researchers have suggested that deer brush seed remains viable for well over 100 years [4,22,62].

Seed is dormant until the hard seedcoat is scarified by fire or mechanical disturbance such as logging [19,22]. Optimal temperatures for scarification range from 170 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit (77-90 deg C) [39]. High-consumptive fire (> 90% of duff burned) kills most seed in duff, but most seed in mineral soil survives. Anderson [4] found that following one high-consumptive fire, 12.5 percent of seed in duff and 52.4 percent of seed in mineral soil was viable. Seed requires stratification follow scarification, and usually germinates in spring [39]. Keeley [41] reported that light inhibited germination, an unusual response, and that charate (charred wood powder) had no effect on germination.

Best establishment occurs with seed in bare mineral soil [7,22]. In a greenhouse study, seeds planted at one-half inch (1 cm) when in shade and at 1 inch (2.5 cm) when in sun showed better seedling emergence than seeds planted at greater or lesser depths. Emergence did not occur with seeds planted on the soil surface [1]. Nearly all seedling establishment occurs in the first postfire spring; establishment after the second postfire year is rare [22]. Plants typically average 3 to 4 inches (8-18 cm) in height at the end of their first growing season and 8 inches (20 cm) in height at the end of the second growing season [21,22,77].

Vegetative reproduction: Sprouts grow more rapidly than seedlings, reaching a height of 30 or more inches (76 cm) in their first year [22]. Age at which deer brush sprouts first produce seed is undocumented; however, sprouts of most Ceanothus species produce seed after 3 to 6 years [21]. When deer brush plants are top-killed before they become decadent, roots remain alive, and root crowns retain the ability to sprout for years beyond the 35-year life expectancy of other stem tissue. Without periodic top-kill, root systems and root crowns of decadent plants die [22].

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Deer brush grows on well-drained soils of all textures [22]. Slope varies from gentle to steep [15]. In California, deer brush occurs primarily on the west slope of the Cascade-Sierra Nevada crest [22,33]. In Oregon, deer brush occurs on both sides of the Cascade Range [80].

Elevational ranges of deer brush are as follows:

Arizona                          3,500 to 7,000 feet (1,100-2,100 m) [40]
northern California          2,000 to 4,000 feet (600-1,200 m) [22,64]
central Sierra Nevada     3,000 to 5,550 feet (900-1,700 m)
southern California          5,000 to 7,000 feet (1,500-2,100 m) [22]
Oregon                           2,000 to 4,000 feet (600-1,200 m)
Washington                     2,000 to 4,000 feet (600-1,200 m) [64]

SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Deer brush grows in open sun to partial shade. When overtopped by trees, deer brush dies out [22,30,74]. It is typically successional after fire, landslide, logging, mining, or other stand-replacing events [7,22,33]. Deer brush seedlings establish in the initial postdisturbance community. If fire or other disturbance is frequent enough to prevent conifers from establishing a canopy, deer brush and other shrubs may occupy a site indefinitely [7]. A shrubfield containing deer brush, on the Tahoe National Forest, has a history of wildfire occurrence at approximate 10-year intervals. The shrubfield has remained stable for over 100 years [86]. More often, deer brush is replaced by conifers [7,22]. In montane chaparral, herbs, deer brush, and other shrubs are replaced by pines (Pinus spp.). In the absence of fire, pines are replaced by firs (Abies spp.) and other shade-tolerant tree species [30,76]. On the Klamath National Forest of California, Stuart and others [72] identified two seral communities in which deer brush was an important component of the vegetation after stand-replacing events in old-growth Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). After wildfire and no subsequent salvage operation, a deer brush-canyon live oak-blue wildrye (Quercus chrysolepis-Elymus glaucus) community developed. After wildfire followed by salvage, or logging followed by site preparation and planting of Douglas-fir seedlings, a tanoak-Pacific madrone-(Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii)-deer brush community developed. The authors speculated that with either successional pathway, natural release of Douglas-fir would not occur for at least 50 years, but the long-term fertility of the deer brush-canyon live oak-blue wildrye community may be greater because nitrogen-fixing deer brush is the primary dominant.

FIRE EFFECTS AND MANAGEMENT

SPECIES: Ceanothus integerrimus
FIRE EFFECTS: Immediate fire effect on plant: Mature deer brush is usually killed by fire [39]. A few plants may be only top-killed [7,42].

Most soil-stored deer brush seed survives fire [15]. Seed in heavy duff may be killed by moderate to severe fire.

Postfire regeneration strategy [70]:
Tall shrub, adventitious buds and a sprouting root crown
Ground residual colonizer (on site, initial community)

Fire adaptations and plant response to fire:
Fire adaptations: Deer brush recovers from fire by establishing from seed and by sprouting from the root crown [12,22,30,37,38,42,45,56]. Seedling establishment is the most common method of posfire regeneration. Heat scarification of seed and increased light after fire favor deer brush seedling establishment, and seedlings are often dense in the first few years after fire [15,30]. Deer brush is apparently a weak sprouter after fire.

Deer brush appears to be important in early postfire succession but only a minor species in mature mixed-conifer forest. Deer brush in the understory of mixed coniferous forest is usually decadent, and decadent plants show poor sprouting response after top-kill. Seedling establishment, however, is usually good, even if deer brush plants are no longer present in the understory [22,37,38].

Plant response to fire: After soil-stored seed is scarified by fire, deer brush seedlings establish in great numbers. Most seedlings establish in the first postfire growing season [15,22]. Natural thinning reduces seedling density as the stand ages. After a July 1942 wildfire consumed a deer brush stand on the El Dorado National Forest, deer brush density was about 300,000 seedlings per acre at postfire year 1; 10,000 per acre at postfire year 10; 2,500 at postfire year 20; and less than a few hundred seedlings at postfire year 30 [22]. A similar pattern occurred after a "fairly intense" prescribed fire in a giant sequoia grove in Kings Canyon National Park. Burning was conducted in fall 1969. No deer brush seedlings occurred on the unburned control plot. Deer brush seedling establishment on burned plots follows [45].

Plot no. Size (ha) Deer brush seedlings/acre
1970 1971 1972
1 1.52 9,284  5,248 403
2 2.47 13,993 6,459 808
3 2.53 539  672 269
means   7,939 4,127 494

Arizona chaparral: A dense stand of Pringle manzanita on the Tonto National Forest was burned to reduce fire hazard, increase browse, and increase water yield. Shrubs were sprayed with 2,4-D prior to the fire to increase their flammability. Deer brush was apparently absent from the area prior to burning. At postfire year 1, deer brush seedling density was [61]:

Severe fire* Light-severity fire** Herbicide only No treatment
190 0 0 0
*Leaves and twigs mostly consumed.
**Leaves and small twigs mostly intact.

Deer brush sprouts from the root crown after fire, but sprouting response may be weak [21,42]. Sprouts on older plants have died in their first year even when watered in summer (Howard 1997 personal observation [34]). Park records from Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park note numerous sites where deer brush seedlings occurred after fire, but only two sites where sprouts were found after fire. In sequoia-mixed conifer forest in Sequoia National Park, deer brush sprouts occurred on 2 of 30 plots that were prescribe burned in November. After October wildland fire on the same watershed, sprouts occurred on 2 of 6 plots (Keifer 1997 personal communication [42]). If they survive, deer brush sprouts may grow rapidly. On a site on the Stanislaus National Forest, deer brush sprouts grew 30 inches (75 cm) in the first postfire year [22]. Data on long-term survival of deer brush sprouts are lacking.

Frequent top-kill by fire or other disturbance (approximate fire return interval of less than 4 years) can eliminate deer brush [21,22].

FUELS AND FIRE REGIMES: Fuels: When deer brush is overtopped by trees, dead and decadent deer brush in the understory can create a severe fuel hazard. Repeated light-severity surface fires are needed to remove dead and dying shrubs and to thin the developing understory of shade-tolerant trees [76].

Fire regimes: Fire regimes: Chaparral - Historic fire return interval in chaparral has been estimated at 20 to 30 years [60]. Fires perpetuated a mosaic of age classes on chaparral landscapes, which decreased the chances for widespread fires. The intense, fast-moving chaparral fires tended to be confined by natural fuel breaks formed from age-class boundaries and topographic features [18].

Mixed conifer - These forests were characterized by frequent, low-intensity surface fires that favored ponderosa and sugar pines, oaks, and sprouting shrubs over shade-tolerant, fire-sensitive species such as incense-cedar and white fir (Abies concolor) [18]. Based upon fire scar data, fire return intervals averaged 8 years [68,84] and ranged from 4 to 20 years [44].

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Fuel accumulation, fire frequency, and fire severity (as well as aspect, soil type, and soil moisture) play major roles in determining patch size and elevational limits of treeline and chaparral. The transition zone between mid-elevation Coulter pine forest and lower-elevation chaparral is a dynamic mosaic of Coulter pine, oaks, deer brush, and manzanitas. The mosaic contains so much dead and decadent deer brush, presumably as a result of fire exclusion, that subsequent wildfires are expected to be abnormally hot. Severe fire is expected to kill Coulter pine and reduce the oaks, thereby increasing chaparral coverage and raising the lower limit of treeline [83].

In the Klamath Geographic Province of Oregon and California, deer brush occurs in the moderate fuel type [7].

When prescribed burning in ponderosa pine with an understory of deer brush and manzanita, Biswell [12] recommended broadcast burning in one or more of three steps: (1) broadcast burning; (2) in heavy timber, piling coarse dead material by hand and burning; (3) in open areas, crushing coarse dead material with a bulldozer and burning. In order to keep fire severity low, he recommended burning in fall, winter, or spring when soil is thoroughly wet, and setting fires so that they burn downhill. Pine needles may be dry enough to carry fire within a day or so after rain. After broadcast burning, remaining coarse dead fuels are piled in open areas within timber. In areas open enough for a bulldozer, the bulldozer can be used to crush the slash. Slash is broadcast burned after it is dry.

Broadcast burning was used on a shrubfield on the El Dorado National Forest to enhance forage for livestock and wildlife. A dense deer brush stand originated following a 1924 wildfire in ponderosa pine and incense-cedar. By postfire year 18, browse was inaccessible to ungulates. Small ponderosa pine and incense-cedar that survived the previous fire were slashed to enhance fuels. Prescribed burning was conducted in July 1942 and resulted in "an intense fire that consumed most of the plant material." Deer brush seedling establishment and survivorship was as follows [22]:

Number of seedlings
Postfire year 1 300,000
Postfire year 2 150,000
Postfire year 8 1,500

FIRE CASE STUDIES

SPECIES: Ceanothus integerrimus

1st CASE STUDY: Understory Composition by Season of Burning/Plumas NF

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION FOR THIS FIRE CASE STUDY:
Howard, Janet L., compiler. 1997. Fire Case Study: Understory Composition by Season of Burning/Plumas NF. 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/ [].

SOURCES:
Unless otherwise indicated, the information in this Fire Case Study comes from the following papers:

Kauffman, J. Boone; Martin, R. E. 1985. A preliminary investigation on the feasibility of preharvest prescribed burning for shrub control. In: Proceedings, 6th annual forestry vegetation management conference; 1984 November 1-2; Redding, CA. Redding, CA: Forest Vegetation Management Conference: 89-114. [37].

Kauffman, J. Boone; Martin, Robert E. 1985. Shrub and hardwood response to prescribed burning with varying season, weather, and fuel moisture. In: Donoghue, Linda R.; Martin, Robert E., eds. Weather--the drive train connecting the solar engine to forest ecosystems: Proceedings, 8th conference on fire and forest meteorology; 1985 April 29-May 2; Detroit, MI. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 279-286. [38].

Kauffman, John Boone. 1986. The ecological response of the shrub component to prescribed burning in mixed conifer ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California. 235 p. Dissertation. [39].

Kauffman, J. B.; Martin, R. E. 1990. Sprouting shrub response to different seasons and fuel consumption levels of prescribed fire in Sierra Nevada mixed conifer ecosystems. Forest Science. 36(3): 748-764. [36].

SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION:
early spring/moderate
late spring/moderate
early fall/moderate
late fall/moderate

STUDY LOCATION : Prescribed fires were set at two locations: the Challenge site and the Quincy site. The Challenge site is on the Challenge Experimental Forest on the La Porte Ranger District, Plumas National Forest. The site is approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) southeast of Challenge, California [36,37,38,39].

The Quincy site is on the Massak Unit of the Quincy Ranger District, Plumas National Forest. It is located 9.9 miles (16 km) east of Quincy, California [36,37,38,39].

PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY:
Challenge site - The overstory was a mature mixed stand of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), and sugar pine (P. lambertiana) with occasional mature California black oak (Quercus kelloggii) and tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus) [38,39]. The site was logged in the late 1870s. Mean basal area of the stand was 80.52 sq m/ha; productivity class was I - II [39]. The shrub layer was predominantly tanoak. Other common shrubs included deer brush (Ceanothus integerrimus), waveyleaf ceanothus (C. foliosus), poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum), and Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii). The herb layer was dominated by rainbow iris (Iris hartwegii) and was sparsely populated with Bolander's bedstraw (Galium bolanderi) and deervetch (Lotus spp.) [39].

Quincy site - The overstory was a mixed forest of Jeffrey pine (P. jeffreyi), ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and incense-cedar [38,39]. Except for select insect damage cuts in the 1960s and 1970s, the site has never been logged. Mean basal area was 48.01 sq m/ha; productivity class was III - IV [39]. The most common understory shrubs were deer brush, California black oak, thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), and sharpleaf snowberry (Symphoricarpos acutus) [36]. Dense thickets of stunted Douglas-fir and incense-cedar were also present in the understory. The most abundant herbs were western fescue (Festuca occidentalis) and broadleaf lupine (Lupinus latifolius subsp. latifolius) [39].

TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE:
Season of burning was timed to correspond with the phenological development of understory shrubs. Season of burning by phenological stage was [39]:

Season  Phenological stage
early spring dormant
|late spring active growth
early fall aboveground growth has stopped
|late fall leaf abscission in deciduous shrubs; since deer brush is drought-deciduous, leaf drop may have already occurred

SITE DESCRIPTION:
Challenge - The study area is on the Yuba River watershed. Elevation is 3,317 feet (1,005 m). Mean annual precipitation is 72 inches (1,800 mm). Aspect is generally west (280-300 deg). Slopes vary from 35 to 55% [39].

Quincy - The study area is on the Plumas River watershed. Elevation is 4,053 feet (1,351 m). Mean annual precipitation is 36 inches (900 mm). Half of the study area is on north- to northwest-facing slopes (310-340 deg), and half is on south- or west-facing slopes (170-180 deg and 260 deg). Slopes vary from 35 to 75% [39].

FIRE DESCRIPTION:
The purpose of the prescribed fire treatments was to determine understory vegetation response to varying season and consumption levels of fire. Four fire treatments were used: (1) early spring, moderate-consumption; (2) late spring, high-consumption; (3) early fall, high-consumption; (4) late fall, moderate-consumption. Prescriptions called for the early spring fire to be implemented as soon as it was possible to carry a fire; the late spring fire to be implemented as late in the spring as safely possible; the early fall fire to be implemented as early in fall as possible and before a major precipitation event; and the late fall fire to be implemented as late in the fall as possible and after a major precipitation event had occurred. If other variables could be met to ensure a safe burn, high-consumption fires were to be conducted when duff moisture content was less than 15 to 20%, and moderate-consumption fires were to be conducted when duff moisture content was greater than 30%. Strip- and backfires were used. Fall burning was conducted from mid-September to mid-October, 1983. Spring burning was conducted from April to June, 1984. Fire and fuel variables are given below. Data are means. Different letters indicate a significant difference (P< 0.1) among means [37,38,39].

Challenge Site:

Variable Early fall
(high)
Late fall
(moderate)
Early spring
(moderate)
Late spring
(high)
Duff consumption (% 93.6 83.4 91.6 69.7a
Duff consumption (t/ha) 111.2 105.8 111.3  72.3
Total fuel consumption (%) 92.1a 77.5b 82.4b        56.2c
Total fuel consumption (t/ha) 148.2    117.2 135.8 69.2a
Duff moisture (%) 15.7 43.4 30.9 119.5a
Soil moisture (%) 11.1a 22.3b 25.7b 44.1c
Flame length (cm)  30.5a 56.3ab 97.1c 70.9bc
Fireline intensity (kJ/m/s) 21.2a 85.9ab 272.7b 125.8ab
Residence time (sec) 47.8 51.2 83.6a 55.9

Quincy Site:

Variable Early fall
(high)
Late fall
(moderate)
Early spring
(moderate)
Late spring
(high)
Duff consumption (% 72.4 70.0 86.2 82.8
Duff consumption (t/ha) 47.9 40.1 53.1 50.6
Total fuel consumption (%) 77.2 56.2 77.4 77.3
Total fuel consumption (t/ha) 79.7 49.5 58.9 59.3
Duff moisture (%) 8.7a 63.0c 18.3a 35.0b
Soil moisture (%) 3.6a 11.3b 11.0b 20.3c
Flame length (cm)  44.3 31.0 60.1 50.7
Fireline intensity (kJ/m/s) 56.0ab 20.8a 110.6b 63.9ab
Residence time (sec) 91.5 37.0 49.5 49.5

FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES:
Mature deer brush experienced 100% mortality on both sites under all four fire treatments [37,39]. Deer brush seedlings established on fall-burned sites but not on spring-burned sites. An early/late seasonal pattern of seedling establishment not was apparent with the fall fires: on the Challenge site, more seedlings established on late fall-burned sites; on the Quincy site, more seedlings established on the early fall-burned site. Number of deer brush seedlings before and after treatment follows [37].

Density of deer brush (seedlings/ha) before and after burning
Site Early fall Late fall Early spring Late spring
before after before after before after before after
Challenge 0 215,977 0 264,486 0 0 0 0
Quincy 0 17,893 0 1,534 0 0 0 0

FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS:
Sprouting: Decadent deer brush in the understory of a mature forest is unlikely to sprout after prescribed fire.

Seedling establishment: Spring fire - Few, if any, deer brush seedlings are liable to establish after spring prescribed fire. Deer brush seed requires stratification following scarification, and spring fire may not allow enough time for the complete embryonic development that occurs with overwinter stratification.

Fall fire - Early to late fall prescribed fire will result in good deer brush seedling establishment if deer brush seed was present in the soil before fire. Although seedling establishment on the late fall-burned Quincy site was low relative to the other fall-burned site, seedling mortality on such thinner stands probably will not be as great as on sites where deer brush seedlings establish in larger numbers. Over a decade's time, deer brush density will probably be similar on both sites.
2nd CASE STUDY: Understory Composition by Season of Burning/Challenge Experimental Forest

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION FOR THIS FIRE CASE STUDY:
Howard, Janet L., compiler. 1997. Fire Case Study: Understory Composition by Season of Burning/Challenge Experimental Forest. 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/ [].

SOURCE:
The information in this Fire Case Study comes from the following paper:

Kauffman, J. Boone; Martin, Robert E. 1985. Shrub and hardwood response to prescribed burning with varying season, weather, and fuel moisture. In: Donoghue, Linda R.; Martin, Robert E., eds. Weather--the drive train connecting the solar engine to forest ecosystems: Proceedings, 8th conference on fire and forest meteorology; 1985 April 29-May 2; Detroit, MI. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 279-286. [38].

SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION:
early spring/moderate
late spring/high
early fall/high
late fall/moderate

STUDY LOCATION:
Challenge Site: This prescribed fire took place in the Challenge Experimental Forest on the La Porte Ranger District, Plumas National Forest. The study site was located approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) southeast of Challenge, California.

Quincy Site: The Quincy burn site is located 9.9 miles (16 km) east of Quincy, California in the Massak Unit on the Quincy Ranger District, Plumas National Forest.

PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY:
Challenge Site: Prefire overstory was dominated by ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana). Common prefire plant associates include tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflora), incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), and bear clover (Chamaebatia foliolosa). The site is described as productive.

Quincy Site: Prefire stands were dominated by ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi), and Douglas-fir. Common associates included black oak (Quercus kelloggii), incense-cedar, and prostrate ceanothus (Ceanothus prostratus). This site is less productive than the Challenge Site.

TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE:

Fire season Phenological state
Early spring fires before active growth
Late spring fires active leaf growth and stem expansion
Early fall fires aboveground shrub growth stopped
Late fall fires leaf abscission was occurring in deciduous shrubs

SITE DESCRIPTION:
Challenge site:

Elevation 3,280 feet (1,000 m)
Aspect generally west
Slope 1 to 12%
Site index productivity class I to III

Quincy site:

Elevation 4,428 feet (1,350 m)
Aspect 50% on north & south slopes
Slope 35 to 75&
Site index productivity class III to IV

FIRE DESCRIPTION:
Challenge Site:

Variable Early fall
(high)
Late fall
(moderate)
Early spring
(moderate)
Late spring
(high)
Duff consumption (% 93.6 83.4 91.6 69.7
Duff consumption (t/ha) 111.2 105.8 111.3 72.3
Total fuel consumption (%) 92.1 77.5 82.4  56.2
Total fuel consumption (t/ha) 148.2 117.2 135.8 69.2
Duff moisture (%) 15.7 43.4 30.9 119.5
Soil moisture (%) 11.1 22. 25.7 44.1
Flame length (cm)  30.5 56.3 97.1  70.9
Fireline intensity (kJ/m/s) 21.2 85.9 272.7 272.7
Residence time (sec) 47.8 51.2 83.6  

Quincy Site:

Variable Early fall
(high)
Late fall
(moderate)
Early spring
(moderate)
Late spring
(high)
Duff consumption (% 72.4 70.0 86.2 82.8
Duff consumption (t/ha) 47.9 40.1 53.1 50.6
Total fuel consumption (%) 77.2 56.2 77.4 77.3
Total fuel consumption (t/ha) 79.7 49.5   58.9    59.3
Duff moisture (%)   8.7 63.0  63.0  35.0
Soil moisture (%) 3.6 11.3 11.0  20.3
Flame length (cm)  44.3 31.0    60.1 50.7
Fireline intensity (kJ/m/s) 56.0   20.8    110.6  63.9
Residence time (sec) 91.5 37.0 49.5 49.5

FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES:

Density of deer brush (seedlings/ha) before and after burning
Site Early fall Late fall Early spring Late spring
before after before after before after before after
Challenge 0 215,977 0 264,486 0 0 0 0
Quincy 0 17,893 0 1,534 0 0 0 0

FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS:
Fall fires appeared to promote increases in deer brush density whereas spring fires did not. Fall fuel conditions and moisture regimes apparently produced fires at both the Challenge and Quincy sites which were sufficient to scarify vast numbers of deer brush seed stored in the soil. Spring fires may have provided inadequate scarification to promote germination, or subsequent weather conditions may have been unfavorable for good germination and establishment. Spring fires may be most effective in reducing deer brush where brush reduction is a primary management goal.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Ceanothus integerrimus
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
None

OTHER STATUS:
Information on state- and province-level protection status of plants in the United States and Canada is available at NatureServe.

IMPORTANCE TO WILDLIFE AND LIVESTOCK:
Deer brush provides high-quality, palatable, and often abundant forage for livestock and wildlife, especially deer [1,22,66]. On Arizona chaparral of the Tonto National Forest, deer brush was one of three principle browse species used by white-tailed deer in fall [51]. In California, deer brush is the most important summer browse species for mule deer and livestock in the ponderosa pine belt. Mule deer also make moderate to heavy use of it on California's winter ranges [22,49].

Porcupine browse deer brush stems. Gambel quail have been observed eating large quantities of the seed [13].

Palatability and nutritional value: Deer brush is highly palatable to ungulates [66,73].

Deer brush leaves are high in protein, and calcium levels are high in both leaves and twigs. However, based on the nutritional standard for lactating cows, deer brush provides inadequate levels of phosphorus and digestible energy. Overall, browse quality decreases from late spring to late summer. On the Sierra National Forest, nutritional quality of deer brush browse varied significantly by year, but not by shrub age or degree of overstory canopy closure. Average nutritional content of deer brush, collected every 2 weeks from June 1 to September 8, 1982 and 1983, follows. Data are means (standard errors) [43].

Variable Year  Leaves  Twigs
Neutral-detergent fiber (%) 1982 33.66 (1.92) 65.48*(2.25)
  1983 25.38 (1.39) 53.17*(1.05)
Acid-detergent fiber (%) 1982 19.85*(1.71) 48.42*(2.02)
  1983 14.65*(0.89) 38.95*(0.88)
In-vitro digestible dry matter  1982 53.93*(3.64) 33.49 (1.70)
  1983 63.60*(1.38) 35.14 (1.40)
Digestible energy (kcal/g) 1982 2.42*(0.18)  1.48 (0.08)
  1983 2.93*(0.06) 1.56 (0.06)
Crude protein (%) 1982 18.15*(0.43) 8.22*(0.34)
  1983 16.92*(0.30) 7.77*(0.23)
Calcium (%)  1982 3.66*(0.47) 1.27*(0.10)
  1983 2.33*(0.10)  1.07*(0.05)
Phosphorus (%) 1982 0.18 (0.01) 0.16*(0.01)
  1983 0.19 (0.01)  0.12*(0.01)
*Significant (P<0.05) difference with respect to year of collection.

Average protein content of deer brush collected from various California locations varied seasonally as follows [11]:

April August October
25.2 %  13.7 % 8.9 %

Cover value: No information was available on this topic as of 1997.

VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
Deer brush is recommended for use on restoration projects due to its nitrogen-fixing ability [25]. Transplanting wild 1-, 2-, and 3-year-old shrubs has been successful in the Sierra Nevada [13]. Growing stock from seed has shown good results, although seed requires several months of pregermination treatment. Reed [64] has compiled procedures for germinating seed in the laboratory.

OTHER USES:
Deer brush has attractive white, lilac, or pink flowers and is planted as an ornamental [47]. It is also a valuable honey plant [73].

Miwok Indians of California made baskets from deer brush branches [5].

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Bartolome and Kosco [8] and Minore and others [57] have developed models for predicting growth and browse production of deer brush.

Deer brush can outcompete conifer seedlings for root space, water, and nutrients. Plantation conifers have generally shown better growth with deer brush control [27,35,52]. Deer brush may not adversely affect natural conifer regeneration, however. Griffin [28] reported that after severe, stand-replacing wildfire on the Los Padres National Forest, sugar and Coulter pine establishment was more successful in the presence of deer brush than on sites where deer brush was absent.

Chemical control: Amitrole (95-98 %), 2,3,6-TBA (80-95 %) and 2,4-D (90-100 %) give good to excellent control of deer brush [69,87]. (Percent control obtained on Oregon shrubfields and timberlands is given in parenthesis [69].)

Biological control: Grazing cattle or domestic sheep on conifer plantations has given good control of deer brush stems [50,52,58]. Prescribed grazing may not result in conifer seedling release, however. On the Tahoe National Forest, a 9-year study on the effects of grazing domestic sheep on a ponderosa pine plantation showed that although domestic sheep significantly (p=0.05) reduced aboveground deer brush biomass, deer brush still remained competitive. After 9 years, height and stem diameter of ponderosa pine were not statistically different between grazed and ungrazed control plots, while ponderosa pine on grubbed plots was significantly (p=0.05) taller and larger in stem diameter than on control plots [54].

REFERENCES:


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