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Establishment of Rio Grande cottonwood seedlings using micro-irrigation of xeric flood plain sites

Posted date: August 06, 2010
Publication Year: 
1999
Authors: Dreesen, David R.; Fenchel, Gregory A.; Fraser, Joseph G.
Publication Series: 
Proceedings (P)
Source: In: Finch, Deborah M.; Whitney, Jeffrey C.; Kelly, Jeffrey, F.; Loftin, Samuel R. Rio Grande ecosystems: linking land, water, and people: Toward a sustainable future for the Middle Rio Grande Basin. 1998 June 2-5; Albuquerque, NM. Proc. RMRS-P-7. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 151-157.
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

Flood control, irrigation structures, and flow control practices on the Middle Rio Grande have prevented the deposition of sediments and hydrologic conditions conducive to the germination and establishment of Rio Grande cottonwood (Populus fremontii S. Wats.). The Los Lunas Plant Materials Center has been investigating the use of micro-irrigation systems on xeric flood plain sites to promote regeneration from natural cottonwood seed dispersal. The initial study showed no establishment benefits resulting from organic–rich substrates versus indigenous mineral surface soil. In the second study, three emitter types (53 L/hr spitter, 14 L/hr spitter, 24 L/hr bubbler) produced mean wetted soil surface areas of 2.7, 0.58, and 0.33 m2, respectively, and median seedling counts per plot of 70, 29, and 16, respectively. In the initial study, the plots with the greatest cottonwood seedling density after one growing season contained 22 seedlings/m2 (15 cm height) without weed control (infested with Kochia scoparia (L.) Roth) and 86 seedlings/m2 (69 cm height) with weed control. Primary weed pests in the second study were Tamarix, Cenchrus, and Artemisia species; weed infested plots had 35 to 45 percent fewer seedlings than plots with weed control after one growing season. Technology development will concentrate on reducing labor costs for irrigation operation and weed control, the major costs in applying this technology. Micro-irrigation technology offers an alternative method of managed cottonwood regeneration for sites where flood irrigation or pole plantings are not practical because of economic, engineering, water use, or jurisdictional constraints.

Citation

Dreesen, David R.; Fenchel, Gregory A.; Fraser, Joseph G. 1999. Establishment of Rio Grande cottonwood seedlings using micro-irrigation of xeric flood plain sites. In: Finch, Deborah M.; Whitney, Jeffrey C.; Kelly, Jeffrey, F.; Loftin, Samuel R. Rio Grande ecosystems: linking land, water, and people: Toward a sustainable future for the Middle Rio Grande Basin. 1998 June 2-5; Albuquerque, NM. Proc. RMRS-P-7. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 151-157.