• Soil and Vegetation Relationships in a Central Plains Saltgrass Meadow

      Bowman, R. A.; Mueller, D. M.; McGinnies, W. J. (Society for Range Management, 1985-07-01)
      A field study was conducted in a saltgrass (Distichlis stricta) meadow at the Central Plains Experimental Range to investigate relationships between soil types, salinity, sodicity, fertility, and vegetation ground cover and species composition. Three line transects that included 48 soil cores and their adjacent vegetation cover were sampled. Soils data indicated relatively good homogeneity between transect 1 and 3 with transect 2 exhibiting the poorest soil physical characteristics because of shallow A horizon and high sodium. Species composition averaged across transects reflected in general the following magnitude of ground cover distribution over the 1979-1983 seasons: blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) > alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides) > saltgrass > western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii). Species nutrient concentration data showed western wheatgrass with the highest concentration of N and K, alkali sacaton highest in P, Ca, Mg, and Na. Saltgrass was assimilating primary NaCl and alkali sacaton NA2SO4. Blue grama showed low Na and Cl concentrations, which suggested a superficial rooting pattern above the saline horizons. Plant-soil correlations for all transects are discussed.