Rocky Mountain Research Station Publications

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RMRS-RP-16: Competitive effects of bluebunch wheatgrass, crested wheatgrass, and cheatgrass on antelope bitterbrush seedling emergence and survival


Hall, Derek B.; Anderson, Val Jo; Monsen, Stephen B. 1999. Competitive effects of bluebunch wheatgrass, crested wheatgrass, and cheatgrass on antelope bitterbrush seedling emergence and survival. Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-16. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 7 p.

The competitive environment into which plant seedlings emerge often determines the survival and performance of these individuals. This study was designed to determine the effects of bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum), and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) on soil moisture depletion, associated antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) seedling emergence, xylem pressure potential, and subsequent survival. In the fall of 1992, antelope bitterbrush seed was sown into the following four established competitive matrices: (1) bluebunch wheatgrass, (2) crested wheatgrass, (3) cheatgrass, and (4) bare soil control plots. Soil moisture and bitterbrush seedling xylem pressure potential data were collected through the spring and summer of 1993. Antelope bitterbrush seedling survival data were collected through the spring and summer of 1993, and again in July 1994. Invasion of bur buttercup (Ranunculus testiculatus) in the spring of 1993 increased the competitive environments with densities of 470 plants per m2 in the crested wheatgrass, 760 in bluebunch wheatgrass, 920 in control and 1,060 in cheatgrass plots. Soil moisture in crested wheatgrass plots tended to be lower than soil moisture in the bluebunch wheatgrass plots. The number of emerged bitterbrush seedlings were significantly (r2 = 0.99) negatively correlated with the number of total annuals per m2. Antelope bitterbrush seedling xylem pressure potentials were less negative in the bluebunch wheatgrass plots compared with the other plots. Percent antelope bitterbrush seedling survival over 2 years was significantly higher (nearly twice) when grown in association with bluebunch wheatgrass than seedlings grown in association with crested wheatgrass, cheatgrass, or bur buttercup.

Keywords: Pseudoroegneria spicata, Agropyron cristatum, Bromus tectorum, Purshia tridentata, Rununculus testiculatus, xylem pressure potential, soil moisture, rangeland restoration


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Title: RMRS-RP-16: Competitive effects of bluebunch wheatgrass, crested wheatgrass, and cheatgrass on antelope bitterbrush seedling emergence and survival
Electronic Publish Date: January 14, 2010
Last Update:
January 14, 2010

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