Abstract: The initial survival of basin wildrye ( Leymus cinereus (Scribn. & Merr.) A. Löve (Poaceae)) plugs used in restoration of riparian habitats in the Crooked River National Grassland in northeastern Oregon was strongly associated with habitat type and planting depth. Five plots in each of 4 study areas were assessed. Survival was strongly dependent on habitat, ranging from 18.8% at the lowest elevation to 70.5% at the highest elevation. Northern pocket gophers ( Thomomys talpoides (Richardson) (Geomyidae)) were considered a major cause of mortality, while mortality by cattle ( Bos taurus Bojanus (Bovidae)) grazing was significant at only one habitat. The lowest elevation habitat had a sandy loam soil with few rocks and strong evidence of gopher activity, whereas the highest elevation habitat had a rocky sandy loam soil with weak evidence of gophers. The highest elevation habitat had burned, which likely reduced competition. Survival of plants that were buried (69%) or with the top of the plug surface flush with the soil surface (53%) was significantly greater than for plants with some of the plug root mass above the soil surface (about 14%). Improved survival of L. cinereus plugs will likely be realized with control of gophers and cattle; additionally survival can be improved by ensuring plug surfaces are flush with the soil surface or buried by a few centimeters of soil.
Native Plants Journal – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Apr 5, 2009
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