Irrigation and Seeding Technique Development for Riparian Corridor Habitat Revegetation
AuthorGrabau, Matthew Robert
AdvisorMartin, Edward C.
Committee ChairMartin, Edward C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractRevegetation of riparian tree species along the lower Colorado River is currently a major activity for federal and state agencies. Revegetation methods for Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii), Goodding's willow (Salix gooddingii), and coyote willow (S. exigua) have historically consisted of cutting collection and vegetative propagation. If direct seeding could be implemented, large cost-savings could be realized while enhancing restoration results due to increased genetic and structural diversity. The following documents laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies conducted to establish seed storage practices, irrigation techniques, and seeding methods and rates which maximize germination and growth rates of these riparian tree species. Experimental seed storage study results indicated that seed viability was maintained for at least a two-year window by freezing, during which seed can be utilized for direct seeding or seedling production. Greenhouse study results include: (1) seed cleaning resulted in higher tree establishment; (2) adverse soil conditions reduced growth rates; (3) organic fertilizer amendment mitigated negative effects of sandy soil for Fremont cottonwood but not for willow; (4) mixed seeding resulted in cottonwood dominance, indicating that reduced rates or separate seeding of this species might be required to improve success of willow species seeding. Small-scale field study results include the following: (1) Fremont cottonwood establishment averaged 7% of pure live seed rates, whereas willow species establishment was less than 1%; (2) sprinkler irrigation did not affect establishment, and decreased tree growth rates; (3) hydroseeding resulted in higher canopy cover, establishment, and above-ground biomass compared to broadcast seeding for all three species; (4) furrow or border irrigation did not affect Fremont cottonwood or coyote willow establishment, but furrow irrigation resulted in higher Goodding's willow establishment. Volunteer species were abundant, with grasses dominating cover and biomass after one growing season despite application of grass specific herbicide. Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) also established in abundance, but grew slower than Fremont cottonwood during the first growing season. Monitoring after three growing seasons indicated higher growth rates and survival of Fremont cottonwood compared to volunteer species. Larger-scale seeding studies are required to refine establishment rates and determine the cost-effectiveness of direct seeding for large-scale Salicaceae species revegetation.
Degree ProgramAgricultural & Biosystems Engineering