• Crested Wheatgrass Control and Native Plant Establishment in Utah

      Hulet, April; Roundy, Bruce A.; Jessop, Brad (Society for Range Management, 2010-07-01)
      Effective control methods need to be developed to reduce crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum [L.] Gaertner) monocultures and promote the establishment of native species. This research was designed to determine effective ways to reduce crested wheatgrass and establish native species while minimizing weed invasion. We mechanically (single- or double-pass disking) and chemically (1.1 L ha-1 or 3.2 L ha-1 glyphosate-Roundup Original Max) treated two crested wheatgrass sites in northern Utah followed by seeding native species in 2005 and 2006. The study was conducted at each site as a randomized block split plot design with five blocks. Following wheatgrass-reduction treatments, plots were divided into 0.2-ha subplots that were either unseeded or seeded with native plant species using a Truax Rough Rider rangeland drill. Double-pass disking in 2005 best initially controlled wheatgrass and decreased cover from 14% to 6% at Lookout Pass and from 14% to 4% at Skull Valley in 2006. However, crested wheatgrass recovered to similar cover percentages as untreated plots 2-3 yr after wheatgrass-reduction treatments. At the Skull Valley site, cheatgrass cover decreased by 14% on herbicide-treated plots compared to an increase of 33% on mechanical-treated plots. Cheatgrass cover was also similar on undisturbed and treated plots 2 yr and 3 yr after wheatgrass-reduction treatments, indicating that wheatgrass recovery minimized any increases in weed dominance as a result of disturbance. Native grasses had high emergence after seeding, but lack of survival was associated with short periods of soil moisture availability in spring 2007. Effective wheatgrass control may require secondary treatments to reduce the seed bank and open stands to dominance by seeded native species. Manipulation of crested wheatgrass stands to restore native species carries the risk of weed invasion if secondary treatments effectively control the wheatgrass and native species have limited survival due to drought. 
    • Hydrologic Response to Mechanical Shredding in a Juniper Woodland

      Cline, Nathan L.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Pierson, Fredrick B.; Kormos, Patrick; Williams, C. Jason (Society for Range Management, 2010-07-01)
      We investigated soil compaction and hydrologic responses from mechanically shredding Utah juniper (Juniperus ostesperma [Torr.] Little) to control fuels in a sagebrush/bunchgrass plant community (Artemisia nova A. Nelson, Artemisia tridentata Nutt. subsp. wyomingensis Beetle Young/Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh] A. Löve, Poa secunda J. Presl) on a gravelly loam soil with a 15% slope in the Onaqui Mountains of Utah. Rain simulations were applied on 0.5-m2 runoff plots at 64 mm h-1 (dry run: soil initially dry) and 102 mm h-1 (wet run: soil initially wet). Runoff and sediment were collected from runoff plots placed in five blocks, each containing four microsites (juniper mound, shrub mound, vegetation-free or bare interspace, and grass interspace) with undisturbed or tracked treatments for each microsite type and a residue-covered treatment for grass and bare interspace microsites. Soil penetration resistance was measured at the hill slope scale, and canopy and ground cover were measured at the hill slope and runoff plot scale. Although shredding trees at a density of 453 trees ha-1 reduced perennial foliar cover by 20.5%, shredded tree residue covered 40% of the ground surface and reduced non-foliar-covered bare ground and rock by 17%. Tire tracks from the shredding operation covered 15% of the hill slope and increased penetration resistance. For the wet run, infiltration rates of grass interspaces were significantly decreased (39.8 vs. 66.1 mm h-1) by tire tracks, but infiltration rates on juniper mounds and bare interspaces were unchanged. Bare interspace plots covered with residue had significantly higher infiltration rates (81.9 vs. 26.7 mm h-1) and lower sediment yields (38.6 vs. 313 g m-2) than those without residue. Because hydrologic responses to treatments are site- and scale-dependent, determination of shredding effects on other sites and at hill slope or larger scales will best guide management actions.